Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Depression symptoms increase during medical internship

13.04.2010
Study identifies long work hours, medical errors, genetic variation among implicated factors

The percentage of clinicians who meet criteria for depression appears to increase significantly during medical internship, according to a report posted online that will appear in the June print issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Increased work hours, medical errors, genetic predisposition and receiving a medical education in the United States are among factors that appear to be associated with depressive symptoms among medical interns.

"We know that internship is a time of high stress," says Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. "While doing my internship, it was clear to me that even people who seemed to be well adjusted during our initial orientation started to struggle as the internship progressed; never smiling, and they were having difficulty with sleep and losing or gaining a lot of weight."

Although some studies have assessed rates of depression among medical interns and found them higher than in the general population, few have explored the specific factors responsible.

To better understand the reasons behind what Sen observed during his internship at Yale University, he and fellow intern at the time, Constance Guille, M.D., and colleagues studied 740 interns entering residency programs in 13 U.S. hospitals in 2007 or 2008.

Study participants completed a secure online survey to assess their symptoms of depression, along with personal and medical education factors and several psychological measures. After three, six, nine and 12 months, the interns completed follow-up surveys regarding depressive symptoms, internship variables (such as work hours and perceived medical errors) and other life stresses. A subgroup of participants (63 percent) provided saliva samples for genetic analysis.

Average depression scores increased during internship; on a scale of zero to 27, where scores of 10 or greater suggested depression, the average score increased from 2.4 before internship to an average of 6.4 during internship. In addition, the proportion of participants who met criteria for depression increased from 3.9 percent before internship to an average of 25.7 percent during internship.

A series of factors measured prior to internship: female sex, U.S. medical education, difficult early family environment and history of major depression and during internship: increased work hours, perceived medical errors and stressful life events, were associated with a greater increase in depressive symptoms during internship, according to the study. A number of factors, such as medical specialty and age, were not associated with the development of depression.

In addition to internship factors, researchers also assessed the genetic make-up of subjects at a well-studied variant within the serotonin transporter gene called 5HTTLPR. While researchers found no difference in depression among participants in the low-stress period before internship, subjects with the less functional version of the serotonin transporter gene reported a significantly greater increase in depressive symptoms during internship.

This work adds to growing body of studies designed to identify genetic factors that predispose individuals to developing depression under stress.

"With effective interventions currently available to help prevent depression, the predictive factors identified in this study could allow at-risk interns to take steps before they start to have symptoms to lower their chances of developing depression," Sen says. "This information may also be valuable to medical residency program directors as they seek to make their programs healthier, both for their medical trainees and the patients that they treat."

Co-authors: Henry R. Krantzler, M.D.,, John H. Krystal, M.D., Heather Speller, M.D., Grace Chan, Ph.D., Joel Gelernter, M.D., and Constance Guille, M.D.

Reference: Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67[6]:(doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.41).

Funding: This work was supported by a Donaghue Foundation Clinical and Community Grant, an American Psychiatric Association Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant, a Veterans Administration Research Enhancement Award Program award and an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Young Investigator Grant. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Jessica Soulliere | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>