Study finds depression during internship could have profound impact on physicians' careers

A study found depression during medical internship can have lasting negative effects and can even impact broader career decisions.

"The Intern Health Study," published by the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, sought to compare the experiences of interns with and without depression. They found 35 percent of participants had clinically significant depression during their internship, and those who were depressed were also more likely to report cynicism, exhaustion and stress. On the other hand, those without depression were more likely to view their internship experience as positive and educational. These experiences in turn impact how much interns value themselves both personally and professionally, and can even impact career decisions, according to the study.

"Respondents with symptoms of depression preferentially described experiences that 'broke' their confidence, sense of well-being and belief in the medical profession, while those who did not described profoundly positive, life-changing experiences regarding interactions with patients and supportive colleagues, through which they grew personally and professionally," the authors wrote.

Read more about The Intern Health Study and the impact of depression on medical interns in this interview with one of the co-authors, Srijan Sen, MD, PhD.

 

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