Mental Health within Residency
Dr. Aaron B. Franzen, Sociology
Medical school brings with it much stress, as the rigors of medical education are tiring, extensive, and consuming. This often increases during residency and can take a serious toll on residents’ mental well-being, both in the short and long term, affecting their functioning both within and outside of the program. Residency can adversely affect residents’ level of anxiety, depression, stress and more, deteriorating job performance and overall mental stability. This study focuses on pediatric residents and their mental health and overall mental well-being. We used longitudinal data from a larger children’s hospital. Building on theories prioritizing the importance of repeated interactions within specific groups, and how these interactions influence a sense of familiarity and commonality, leading to enhanced mental health. Findings indicate that the more friends reported within the residency the more respondents report trust in co-residents, affective regard for co-residents, greater social unity, and higher commitment to co-residents. Second, the more socially integrated residents were within the program, the lower their reported overall stress, fewer reported days experiencing bad mental health, and better overall self-rated health. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as residents report more friends within the residency program they also report feeling “alone” less often.
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