SAEM Wellness Consensus Conference
Background: Several studies in emergency medicine research demonstrate that stress, anxiety, burnout and depression affect emergency medicine physicians. The factors identified causing these are usually work-home conflict, relationship issues, family life, and lifestyle habits outside the emergency medicine work shift. The literature, however, does not explore the direct environmental and intrinsic factors of an emergency medicine shift, and the effects they have on emergency medicine residents. This research study attempts to discover if there is a correlation between gender, anxiety, and the specific factors within the work shift causing anxiety.
Methods: This study is a cross-sectional IRB approved survey study. The survey consisted of basic demographic questions, novel questions that identify intrinsic factors of a shift that cause stress, and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) score. Subjects were emergency medicine residents in the United States of America. The survey was anonymous and distributed electronically through the Emergency Medicine Residents Association (EMRA), yielding 615 participants. Correlation, chi-square, and frequency analysis were performed to determine the significance of the data.
Results: Responses included 615 subjects consisting of 355 males and 260 females. Resident physicians in other medical specialties, emergency medicine attendings, medical students, and other hospital staff such as nurses, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners were excluded. The data showed that males had a mean GAD-7 score of 4.76 and females had a mean score of 6.65 (p<.0001). Females were more likely than males to select that an intrinsic factor of a shift causes severe anxiety, except for providing care to low acuity patients, shifts beginning in the morning, and using an electronic medical record system.
Conclusion: There is a statistically significant association between gender and anxiety in emergency medicine residents enrolled in United States residency programs. Females report higher levels of anxiety than males. The breakdown of intrinsic stressors of a shift can provide a framework for residency programs to minimize aggravating factors correlated with anxiety.