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Articles   |    
Work-Related Stress, Job Resources, and Well-Being Among Psychiatrists and Other Medical Specialists in Finland
Tarja Heponiemi, Ph.D.; Anna-Mari Aalto, Ph.D.; Sampsa Puttonen, Ph.D.; Jukka Vänskä, M.Sci.; Marko Elovainio, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300200
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Dr. Heponiemi, Dr. Aalto, and Dr. Elovainio are with the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland (e-mail: tarja.heponiemi@thl.fi). Dr. Puttonen is with the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, and Mr. Vänskä is with the Finnish Medical Association, also in Helsinki.

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association


Objectives  Previous studies suggest that psychiatrists may be more stressed than other medical specialists and mental health professionals. This study examined differences in stress factors, job resources, psychological distress, and job satisfaction between psychiatrists and other medical specialists. In addition, the study examined whether stress factors or job resources accounted for possible differences between the groups in psychological distress or job satisfaction.

Methods  In 2010, the authors obtained cross-sectional, Web-based survey data from a random sample of 2,776 Finnish physicians, including 1,647 women (59%), ranging in age from 25 to 69 years old. Comparisons between the two groups used analyses of covariance adjusted for gender, age, and employment sector.

Results  Psychiatrists were less satisfied with their jobs, felt more stressed about patients, and experienced more psychological distress compared with other medical specialists. However, psychiatrists had more opportunities to control their jobs and better team climate compared with other medical specialists. High psychological distress among psychiatrists was partly accounted for by high patient-related stress. The differences in psychological distress and job satisfaction between the two groups were not accounted for by work-family conflicts or optimism.

Conclusions  It is important to try to alleviate the high levels of patient-related stress among psychiatrists and to further increase their job resources. Doing so may enhance the attractiveness of psychiatry as a specialty choice.

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Table 1Characteristics of 2,776 Finnish physicians, by specialty
Table Footer Note

a Categorical variables were compared by chi square tests, and continuous variables were compared by analyses of variance.

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Table 2Correlations among specialty and other study variables for 2,776 Finnish physicians
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a Specialty was coded 0 for other medical specialists and 1 for psychiatrists.

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b Gender was coded 0 for man and 1 for woman.

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* p<.05, **p<.01

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Table 3Estimated marginal means for measures of work-related stress factors and other characteristics among psychiatrists and other medical specialistsa
Table Footer Note

a The results are based on analyses of covariance. The means have been adjusted for gender, age, and employment sector. Possible scores for all measures range from 1 to 5, with higher scores indicating higher levels of the variable, except for possible scores for psychological distress, which range from 1 to 4.

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Table 4Effects of specialty on psychological distress and job satisfaction among 2,776 Finnish physiciansa
Table Footer Note

a Each model of the regression analysis was adjusted for a different set of variables, including age, gender, and employment sector (all models); work interference with family, job control, team climate, and optimism (models B and C); and time pressure and patient-related stress (model C).



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