A longitudinal study of burnout and well-being in family medicine resident physicians

Mari Ricker, Victoria Maizes, Audrey J. Brooks, Coya Lindberg, Paula Cook, Patricia Lebensohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core competencies for residency learning and work environment standards acknowledge high levels of burnout and depression in resident physicians and the critical importance of physician well-being to patient care and effective education. The objective of this study was to follow family medicine resident physicians’ well-being throughout residency. METHODS: Family medicine resident physicians from 12 programs completed validated assessments (burnout, depression, perceived stress, satisfaction with life, positive and negative affect, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, gratitude) at residency start, second year start, and graduation. Resident physicians were from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 graduating classes (N=158). RESULTS: Two indicators of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization) increased between the start of residency and the start of the second year, re-maining elevated at graduation. Emotional intelligence was lower at graduation than at the start of residency. In contrast, other measures of well-being (stress, life satisfaction, affect) improved during the second and third years. Depression, mindfulness, and gratitude remained stable. Increased levels of burnout risk at graduation were negatively associated with emotional intelligence, mindful-ness, and gratitude. CONCLUSIONS: While the stressful impact of residency is transitory for some measures of well-being, that is not the case for burnout or emotional intelli-gence. Burnout levels peak after the first year of residency and remain high through graduation. Targeted interventions to identify and address burnout in residency need to be evaluated in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-723
Number of pages8
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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