Digital survey of mental health, associated psychosocial, and work factors in medical specialty residents in the Guadalajara metropolitan area

Jesús Alejandro Aldana López, Eric Foulkes González, José Fernando Ojeda Palomera, Jaime Carmona Huerta, Martín Acosta Fernández



Introduction. Medical specialty residents have become a high-risk population for mental health disorders, mainly due to long working days, limited time for rest and recreation, problems inherent in the work environment, and substance use. Since all these factors not only alter the training of future specialists, but also the care they provide for people, the study of an intervention in this population is of interest to the health system and human resource training in the health sector.

Objective. To evaluate the mental health status, prevalence of work exhaustion and associated psychosocial and work factors in medical residents in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area.

Method. This was a cross-sectional, observational, descriptive, and comparative study, in which, through a digitized survey on the Google Forms platform, the GHQ-28, ASSIST, and Maslach Burnout Inventory scales were administered to medical specialty residents from various health institutions in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area.

Results. The total sample comprised 306 residents, representing 11.23% of the total residents in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area (2,724). Female physicians had a higher percentage of participation with 61.4% (n = 188), with male physicians accounting for 38.6% (n = 118). The average age was 28.9 years and 84.9% (n = 260) were pursuing a clinical specialty, and 15.1% (n = 46) a surgical one p ˂ 05. On average, they worked 74.1 hours per week, whereas in surgical specialties they worked another 10 hours (82.63 ± 23.40 vs. 72.67 ± 19.76, p = .002). 72.5% (n = 222) showed a high risk of developing burnout. 9.2% (n = 28) obtained scores compatible with severe depression, which was related to a higher number of hours worked per week and heavier alcohol consumption than residents without depression, 21.24% (n = 65) of respondents frequently thought about dropping out, 22.5% (n = 69) felt dissatisfied with their work, while 14.05% (n = 43) of the residents had recently noticed that they had had frequent thoughts of taking their own lives.

Discussion and conclusion. The higher number of hours worked per week, surgical specialties, and the presence of workplace harassment were recognized as psychosocial and occupational factors associated with mental health problems in resident physicians, such as depression, thoughts of death, burnout, and psychoactive substance use. In a country like Mexico, where medical residents are a crucial pillar of the public health system, it is necessary to ensure their well-being, and seek to improve the working and academic conditions of medical residencies to ensure that this is reflected in the quality and safety of patient care.


Mental health; medical residents; depression; substance use; suicide risk; burnout; medical specialties

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