A multicenter study of burnout, depression, and quality of life in minority and nonminority US medical students

Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Nov;81(11):1435-42. doi: 10.4065/81.11.1435.


Objective: To determine the well-being of minority medical students in a multicenter sample of US medical students.

Participants and methods: All 1098 medical students at 3 medical schools in Minnesota were surveyed in April 2004. Validated instruments were used to assess burnout, depression, and quality of life (QOL). Students were also asked about the prevalence of significant personal life events in the previous 12 months and strategies used to cope with stress.

Results: Although symptoms of depression and overall burnout were similar among minority and nonminority students, minority students were more likely to have a low sense of personal accomplishment (P=.02) and lower QOL In a number of domains (all P< or =.05). These differences persisted on multivariate analysis that controlled for demographic characteristics and recent life events. Minority students were also more likely to have a child (P=.01), originate from outside Minnesota (P<.001), and experience a major personal Illness in the last 12 months (P=.03).

Conclusion: As a group, the minority medical students in this survey had a lower sense of personal accomplishment and QOL than nonminority students. Additional studies are needed to provide insight regarding the causes of these inequities and the unique challenges faced by minority medical students. Efforts to improve minority students' well-being, QOL, and learning experience may help prevent attrition among minority medical students and promote diversification in the physician workforce.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Minority Groups*
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology