Repeated Cross-sectional Surveys of Burnout, Distress, and Depression among Anesthesiology Residents and First-year Graduates

Huaping Sun, David O. Warner, Alex Macario, Yan Zhou, Deborah J. Culley, Mark T. Keegan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THIS TOPIC: Burnout has been identified in approximately 50% of residents and practicing physicians WHAT THIS ARTICLE TELLS US THAT IS NEW: Based on survey data from 2013 to 2016, the prevalence of burnout, distress, and depression in anesthesiology residents and first-year graduates was 51%, 32%, and 12%, respectivelyMore hours worked and student debt were associated with a higher risk of distress and depression, but not burnoutPerceived institutional and social support and work-life balance were associated with a lower risk of burnout, distress, and depression BACKGROUND:: This repeated cross-sectional survey study was conducted to determine the prevalence of, and factors associated with, burnout, distress, and depression among anesthesiology residents and first-year graduates. We hypothesized that heavy workload and student debt burden were associated with a higher risk of physician burnout, distress, and depression, and that perception of having adequate workplace resources, work-life balance, and social support were associated with a lower risk. METHODS: Physicians beginning U.S. anesthesiology residency between 2013 and 2016 were invited to take online surveys annually from their clinical anesthesia year 1 to 1 yr after residency graduation. The Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Physician Well-Being Index, and the Harvard Department of Psychiatry/National Depression Screening Day Scale were used to measure burnout, distress, and depression, respectively. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine whether self-reported demographics, personal, and professional factors were associated with the risk of burnout, distress, and depression. RESULTS: The response rate was 36% (5,295 of 14,529). The prevalence of burnout, distress, and depression was 51% (2,531 of 4,966), 32% (1,575 of 4,941), and 12% (565 of 4,840), respectively. Factors associated with a lower risk of all three outcomes included respondents' perceived workplace resource availability, (odds ratio = 0.51 [95% CI, 0.45 to 0.57] for burnout; 0.51 [95% CI, 0.45 to 0.56] for distress; 0.52 [95% CI, 0.45 to 0.60] for depression) and perceived ability to maintain work-life balance (0.61 [95% CI, 0.56 to 0.67] for burnout; 0.50 [95% CI, 0.46 to 0.55] for distress; 0.58 [95% CI, 0.51 to 0.65] for depression). A greater number of hours worked per week and a higher amount of student debt were associated with a higher risk of distress and depression, but not burnout. CONCLUSIONS: Burnout, distress, and depression are notable among anesthesiology residents. Perceived institutional support, work-life balance, strength of social support, workload, and student debt impact physician well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-677
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Cite this