Lack of ‘Spirituality’ Linked to Doctor Depression

Posted by Chris Parker
Mar 16 2006

CINCINNATI, March 16 (UPI) — University of Cincinnati scientists suggest religious and spiritual characteristics of physicians may influence their risk for clinical depression.

The researchers noted despite recent restrictions placed on work hours for resident physicians, the prevalence of significant depression symptoms among those new physicians has not decreased.

Survey data, the researchers say, suggests the risk for significant depression symptoms was greater among respondents who reported negative religious coping mechanisms, poorer spiritual well-being and the need for more spiritual support.

“Research from the last two decades has shown the prevalence of significant depressive symptoms among residents to be in the range of 20 percent,” said principal investigator Dr. Michael Yi. ”

We might have expected that number to fall after the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education implemented work-hour restrictions in 2003, but our study found the level to be pretty consistent with earlier data.

“Our findings suggest screening residents for depression and other mood problems may be warranted,” added Yi. “In addition, addressing the spiritual needs of residents at greater risk for mood problems may help them cope with the stresses associated with their training.”

The study appears in the March-April edition of the journal Ambulatory Pediatrics.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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