Burnout, depression, and career satisfaction: cross-sectional study of obstetrics and gynecology residents

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Nov;195(5):1444-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2006.06.075.


Objective: This study was undertaken to measure career satisfaction among obstetrics and gynecology residents and assess its relationship to burnout, depression, and malpractice concerns.

Study design: A 63-item, anonymous, self-administered survey was distributed to residents at 23 randomly selected obstetric and gynecologic residency programs in the United States. The outcome measures included the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey, the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale, and perceptions of malpractice and career satisfaction.

Results: Eighty-three percent of the residents were either "very or somewhat satisfied" with their career choice. The majority (89.8%) showed evidence of moderate burnout and 34.2% were considered depressed. Ninety-six percent were concerned about malpractice with 35% pursuing fellowship solely because of malpractice concerns. Residents dissatisfied with their career choice were twice as likely to be depressed (30% vs 55%, P = .03). Both emotional exhaustion (P < .0001) and consideration of fellowship because of malpractice (P < .0001) were strongly predictive of diminishing career satisfaction.

Conclusion: Resident career satisfaction was inversely correlated with burnout and depression, which were more prevalent than expected. Overall, residents were satisfied with their career choice, but also negatively influenced by malpractice concerns.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Career Choice*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Gynecology / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Malpractice
  • Obstetrics / education*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Prevalence