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Stress and coping in accident and emergency senior house officers


Objectives: To identify levels of psychological distress in accident and emergency (A&E) senior house officers (SHOs).

Methods: Questionnaire survey given to SHOs at training sessions.

Measures: General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the Brief COPE.

Results: Over half of the 37 respondents (51%; 95% CI: 36% to 67%) scored over the threshold for psychological distress on the GHQ. This is considerably higher than for other groups of doctors and for other professional groups. Correlational analysis revealed that the coping style Venting was significantly related to greater anxiety (r=0.34; p<0.05) and depression (r=0.33; p<0.05), while the coping style Active was significantly related to lower anxiety (r=−0.38; p<0.05), somatic complaints (r=−0.46; p<0.001) and years since qualification (r=0.40; p<0.05).

Conclusions: Replicating findings from a study of stress in A&E consultants, this study shows higher levels of overt psychological distress among A&E SHOs than among other groups of doctors. An intervention to improve coping strategies may be useful for this group of doctors.

  • sress
  • senior house officers

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