Background: The role of female physicians, which often involves combining medicine, marriage, and motherhood, may cause stress for some women. The purpose of this research was to identify correlates of depression, stress, and self-esteem among a sample of female Canadian family physicians.
Methods: All female family physicians in London, Ontario, who met study eligibility criteria were asked to participate in a questionnaire study. Sixty-two physicians were surveyed and asked to complete four psychological survey instruments: the Cognition Checklist, the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory, the People in Your Life Scale, and the Work Response Questionnaire.
Results: The response rate was 83.3%. Sixty-five percent of subjects felt overloaded or overwhelmed at least once per week. These women, on average, worked more hours than subjects who reported not feeling overwhelmed (r = .48). Subjects had lower depression scores than did other populations tested with similar survey instruments. Subjects' self-esteem was similar to that found in other populations and was positively correlated with opportunities to acquire new skills (r = .34) and perceived lack of difficulty in developing lasting relationships (r = .41).
Conclusions: Depression appears to be less common among female family physicians than among other populations, but nearly two thirds of female family physicians feel overloaded or overwhelmed by their multiple responsibilities, as often as once per week.