A survey of perceived stress, intimidation, harassment and well-being of resident doctors in a Nigerian Teaching Hospital

Niger J Clin Pract. 2010 Jun;13(2):183-6.


Objective: Stress levels of residency are under-reported in Nigeria despite the importance of well-being during residency training. We investigated the level of perceived stress, intimidation/harassment, mental health and well being among resident doctors.

Methods: This was a cross sectional questionnaire survey of all residents in training in a Nigerian teaching hospital located in south western part ofNigeria.

Results: The response rate was 80.6% (58 out of 72). Forty three (74.1%) of the respondents were males. The mean age was 35.7 +/- 2.8 years (range = 31-43 yeas). The mean number of working hours was 8.8/ hours/week. Fifty percent of residents reported their life was stressful. There were gender differences in conditions like work situation, residency programme, employment status, personal and family safety, caring for children and discrimination in favour of men. Some residents resorted to the use of alcohol (5.2%), cigarette (1.7%), drugs and medications (8.6%) to handle stress. A greater majority of the residents (61.4%) would pursue another career if they had to do it all over, while 34.5% would consider changing to another teaching hospital for their residency. Many residents reported experiencing intimidation and harassment. Eighteen (31%) of the residents admitted to have had emotional or mental health problems during the residency program. About 29% will require further screening for depression, 21.6% for panic disorder, 15.8% for generalized anxiety, 9.3% for social phobia and 8.8% for agoraphobia. The study design however did not allow prediction of proportion of individuals who had mental challenges, nor allow comparison of such rates to the normal population in the country.

Conclusion: Many residents experience significant stressors and intimidation/harassment, some of which differ among gender. This study can serve as a pilot for future research, resource application and advocacy for overall improvements of the well-being of residents in training.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / standards*
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Nigeria
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Schedule Tolerance
  • Workload