Burnout and attitudes toward deliberate self harm amongst UK junior doctors

Wilson, N. and Langan-Martin, J. (2021) Burnout and attitudes toward deliberate self harm amongst UK junior doctors. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 26(2), pp. 162-176. (doi: 10.1080/13548506.2020.1840599) (PMID:33125265)

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Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is a major global health problem and a significant risk factor for death by suicide. Despite this, those who suffer are often confronted with negative attitudes from healthcare professionals whilst seeking help, with detrimental consequences for treatment outcomes. While several factors may affect attitudes to DSH amongst healthcare professionals, there is now growing evidence to suggest an association with burnout. As current levels of burnout amongst junior doctors are estimated to be high, understanding the nature of this association is crucial. The over-arching aim of this project is therefore to explore junior doctors’ attitudes toward DSH in comparison with other presenting conditions and to explore any possible relationship these may have with features of burnout. We conducted an online cross-sectional survey of junior doctors working within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. After collecting sociodemographic information, participants were presented with both the abbreviated Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Medical Condition Regard Scale for patients presenting with; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Type I Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM), Schizophrenia and DSH. Significant differences in attitudes according to presenting complaints/conditions were identified. Participants reported the highest regard for TIDM and lowest regard for DSH, varying as a function of speciality and years of NHS service. 21% of participants were experiencing ‘burnout’ to a high degree, and scores also varied as a function of speciality and years of NHS service. No association between burnout and attitudes were observed for any of the investigated diagnoses. Our findings highlight the desperate need for evidence-based interventions to address burnout and negative attitudes toward DSH amongst junior doctors. Moreover, they may suggest that these attitudes worsen through the course of junior doctor training. We would therefore advocate for further research to assess the efficacy of interventions designed to address this.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wilson, Dr Naomi and Langan-Martin, Dr Julie
Authors: Wilson, N., and Langan-Martin, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:Psychology, Health and Medicine
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1465-3966
Published Online:30 October 2020

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