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The mental health of hospital consultants: Understanding the risk factors

Graham, J; Manley, CJ; Potts, HWW; Richards, MA; Ramirez, AJ; (2005) The mental health of hospital consultants: Understanding the risk factors. In: Proceedings of the British Psychological Society. (pp. 80 - 80).

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Abstract

Background: Poor mental health in doctors is associated with poor quality patient care. We have estimated the changes over eight years in the prevalence psychiatric morbidity and burnout among hospital consultants, and examined associated demographic and occupational risk factors. Method: Design: Two cross-sectional national postal surveys, in 1994 and 2002. Participants: 1133 (in 1994) and 1794 (in 2002) hospital consultants from five specialties (gastroenterology, radiology, surgical, clinical and medical oncology). Measures: Psychiatric morbidity (GHQ-12), burnout (MBI), job stress and satisfaction (Ramirez et al., Lancet, 1996), adequacy of training in communication skills, mentoring, demographic and job characteristics. Findings: Response rates were 78 per cent (1994) and 73 per cent (2002). The estimated prevalence of psychiatric morbidity has risen between 1994 and 2002 from 27 per cent to 32 per cent (p<0.01). Job stress has increased considerably (p<0.001) and job satisfaction moderately (p<0.01). A model explaining the relationship of occupational and socio-demographic risk factors to burnout and psychiatric morbidity (Graham et al., Lancet, 2002) was successfully reproduced and refined with the 2002 data. Predictors of poor mental health (including gender and specialty) were explained by the combination of job stress (particularly from overload) with job satisfaction (particularly from having professional status and esteem) and this relationship was subsequently mediated by burnout. Adequate training in communication skills and having a mentor when first a consultant are also important in protecting consultants’ mental health. Discussion: The model is discussed within the framework of Karasek’s job strain theory (1979) and Siegrist’s effort-reward imbalance model (1996) and has practical implications for improving poor mental health in doctors, including increasing job satisfaction, and promoting communication skills training and mentoring schemes for new consultants.

Type:Proceedings paper
Title:The mental health of hospital consultants: Understanding the risk factors
Event:British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care > CHIME

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