Psychosocial support services for family medicine resident physicians

Fam Med. 2004 Feb;36(2):108-13.


Background and objectives: The stress of residency is well documented. Some residency programs recognize the importance of addressing resident stress and provide psychosocial support services. This study assesses the current state of support services offered to family medicine residents and documents historical trends of support.

Methods: All US family medicine residency programs were surveyed about program characteristics and the presence or absence of 21 psychosocial support services. The prevalence of current services was compared to that of 10 and 20 years ago.

Results: The percentage of family medicine programs offering 17 of 19 support services increased over the previous decades. However, percentages of some key services, especially those that address family life, are still quite low.

Discussion: Increases in services may be due to programs' desire to offer more positive and supportive educational experiences. Offering supportive and reflective opportunities may lessen stress, increase flexibility and balance, create enthusiasm for learning, encourage compassion for patients, and promote future well-being. In times of decreasing interest in family medicine, the presence of effective psychosocial support services may be important for attracting and training the best possible family physicians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency* / organization & administration
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Workload