From Student to Physician: Determining Which Lifestyle Behaviors May Be Risk Factors for Burnout at a South Florida Medical School
Keywords:Students, Burnout, Professional, Risk reduction behavior, Support, Social, Medical student, MD, MBBS, MD-PhD, MD-MSc, DO, Lifestyle, Healthy lifestyle, Behavior, United States, Florida, Professional Burnout, Occupational Burnout, Career Burnout, Stress, Psychiatry, Psychology, MD student, MBBS student, MD-MSc student, MD-PhD student
Background: Compared to other professions, physicians have significantly higher rates of burnout and poor lifestyle behaviors, including inadequate sleep, poor diet, limited exercise, and lack of supportive social relationships. Among physicians in training, burnout and increasingly poor lifestyle behaviors can begin as early as the preclinical years of medical school.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey composed of questions from standardized surveys measuring diet (Yaroch’s FVS), exercise (NPAQ-S), sleep (NHANES), stress management (HRQOL), social support (BRFSS), substance use (AUDIT-QF, WHO), and burnout (Mini-Z) was conducted on a South Florida medical school in May 2021. One hundred forty-four students fully completed the survey for a response rate of 16%. Descriptive analysis was performed via SPSS to determine the effects of these lifestyle factors on the likelihood of student burnout.
Results: In this sample of medical students, over half (61%) experienced burnout per the Single Item Burnout Measure. Independently, lack of sleep (p<0.02) and decreased social support (p<0.001) were lifestyle factors positively associated with increased risk of burnout. Furthermore, students who experienced burnout reported more poor mental health days and decreased life satisfaction (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Over half of the medical students experienced burnout. Lack of sleep and lack of social support were significantly associated with increased risk of burnout. In addition, burned-out students showed significantly increased levels of poor mental health and decreased life satisfaction. These findings help us identify specific lifestyle factors that institutions could use to further combat medical student burnout.
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