Perceived stressors and coping mechanisms among intern doctors and residents in a tertiary care hospital in South India

Amey Joshi, Akshaya Jayaprakash, Pradeep C.


Background: The high prevalence of stress amongst health care professionals is resulting in burnout and decline in quality of patient care. Intern doctors and residents are expected to adapt, improvise and overcome these stressors in an effective manner to optimize their productivity and ensure the best standard of care. This study aims to outline the stress profile as perceived by intern doctors and residents and to explore methods employed to cope with work place stress.

Methods: An analytical cross-sectional study was undertaken among 60 Intern doctors and 60 Residents in a Tertiary care teaching hospital in southern India in 2018. Socio-demographic details and perceived stress was evaluated by questionnaires and Cohen’s perceived stress scale (PSS). Data obtained was entered and analysed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences and results were presented using frequencies and percentages. Chi-square test was used to test significance of various factors and their relation to stress.

Results: Stress was reported by 78.3% and 75% of Intern and resident doctors respectively. The mean PSS score among intern doctors was 18.42±4.18 and 19±4 among residents. With the exception of sleep duration, no significant association was found between stress and socio-demographic or behavioral factors. Excessive workload was the leading cause of stress among intern and resident doctors. 33.3% of residents resorted to unhealthy coping mechanisms to stress as against 8% in Interns. 18.3% of intern doctors were unaware of means to cope with stress.  

Conclusions: Effective stress management techniques and healthy sleep habits must be encouraged amongst Intern and Resident doctors to enable them to adapt to the dynamic and demanding lifestyle of the medical profession.


Intern doctor, Residents, Stress, PSS, Coping mechanism

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