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February 1985

Depressive Symptoms in Medical House Officers: Effects of Level of Training and Work Rotation

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Internal Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital, and the Department of Community Health, Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University Program in Medicine, Providence.

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(2):286-288. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360020114019

• To measure depressive symptoms in medical house officers, a self-report questionnaire was administered to 68 medical house officers each month for an academic year. Of 844 possible responses, 737 forms were completed (87.3%). Although the overall prevalence of depressive symptoms (21.4%) approximated that of the general population, subpopulations of residents with high prevalence rates of depressive symptoms could be identified. A 28.7% prevalence rate of depressive symptoms was noted for postgraduate year 1 (PGY-1) residents. Prevalence rates fell with each successive year of training. Depressive symptoms occurred in 34.8% of PGY-1 residents on ward rotations. Similarly, responses from PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents on intensive care rotations indicated prevalence rates of depressive symptoms for both groups of greater than 33%. The impact of these symptoms on resident function and patient care has yet to be determined.

(Arch Intern Med 1985;145:286-288)