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Depressive Symptoms Higher During Internal Medicine Internship

Faculty feedback, learning experience in inpatient rotations, work hours tied to change in symptoms


TUESDAY, Jan. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For internal medicine interns, depressive symptoms increase during internship, with poor faculty feedback and inpatient learning experience associated with increased depressive symptoms, according to a study recently published in Academic Medicine.

Karina Pereira-Lima, from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the correlations between program-level variables and residents' development of depressive symptoms during internship. A total of 1,276 internal medicine interns from 54 U.S. residency programs completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) before internship and quarterly through the internship between 2012 and 2015. A resident questionnaire was used to assess the training environment; average weekly work hours were also examined.

The researchers found that from baseline to during internship, there was an increase in the mean program PHQ-9 scores from 2.3 to 5.9, with the mean increase ranging from −0.3 to 8.8 among the programs included. Faculty feedback, learning experience in inpatient rotations, work hours, and research ranking position were correlated with change in depressive symptoms (β = −0.37, −0.28, 0.34, and −0.25, respectively) in multivariable models.

"Given our findings, further examinations could also focus on identifying specific aspects of in-patient rotations associated with better resident mental health and satisfaction with learning experience," the authors write.

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