Medical interns suffer high rates of depression: study

April 15, 2010

The stress of medical internships may lead to increased incidence of depression, suggests a study from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.

Researchers conducted an online survey of 740 medical interns entering residency programs at 13 different hospitals in 2007 or 2008, with follow-ups at three, six, nine and 12 months. The survey questioned participants on their depression symptoms, life stresses and internship variables, such as work hours and perceived medical errors.

According to a study abstract, the number of participants who met the criteria for depression increased from 3.9 percent before the internship to 25.7 during the internship. Those who worked long hours, had a high number of perceived medical errors or received their medical education in the United States seemed to be at a higher risk for depression.

The study is scheduled to be published in the June issue of the Journal of General Psychiatry.