1Vilnius University Medical Faculty, Vilnius, Lithuania
Introduction: Workplace harassment (verbal, physical and sexual abuse) is prominent in the medical field, with medical residents also being subjected to academic mistreatment. Various types of abuse affect the mental well-being of the receivers. Depression and anxiety among medical staff has been linked to increased medical errors and poor-quality patient care. Determination of prevalence of the phenomena is important for prevention and management.
Aim: To evaluate the extent of perceived verbal, physical, academic and sexual abuse and determine its relationship with anxiety and depressive symptoms amongst medical residents.
Materials and methods: An internet survey consisting of demographic questions, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and abuse-related questions was distributed among resident doctors of Vilnius University. Residents from all years and specialties took part in the survey in February 2017. Results were considered to be statistically significant when p < 0.05.
Results: N = 91. Median age of respondents: 26 (min. 24; max. 33). 87.9% female, 12.1% male. 23.1% were surgical residents, 76.9% nonsurgical. HAD sub-scale scores for anxiety (HADS-A score > 8): 48.6%. HAD sub-scale scores for depression (HADS-D score >8): 19.8%. Percentage of respondents who have never experienced verbal abuse – 4.4%, physical abuse – 82.4%, academic abuse – 7.7%, sexual abuse – 3%. Verbal, academic and sexual abuse was most often exerted by attending doctors (75.9%, 94.9% and 75.9% respectively), while physical abuse was most often exerted by patients (62.5%) A mild positive correlation between abuse scores and the HADS scores was found (HADS-A r=0.369, p=0.000; HADS-D r=0.415, p=0.000).
Conclusions: Perceived workplace harassment in the residency program is prevalent and might be one of the contributing factors for anxiety and depressive symptoms amongst medical residents. Seminars on proper communication between attending doctors and residents might be used as a preventive measure.