Background: Physician distress is common and related to numerous factors involving physicians' personal and professional lives. The present study was designed to assess the effect of a Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) program for increasing resiliency and quality of life, and decreasing stress and anxiety among Department of Medicine (DOM) physicians at a tertiary care medical center.
Participants: Forty DOM physicians were randomized in a wait-list controlled clinical trial to either the SMART intervention or a wait-list control group for 8 weeks. The intervention involved a single 90 min one-on-one training in the SMART program. Primary outcome measures assessed at baseline and week 8 included the Connor Davidson Resilience Scale (CDRS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Smith Anxiety Scale (SAS) and Linear Analog Self Assessment Scale (LASA).
Results: Thirty-two physicians completed the study. A statistically significant improvement in resiliency, perceived stress, anxiety, and overall quality of life at 8 weeks was observed in the study arm compared to the wait-list control arm: CDRS: mean ± SD change from baseline +9.8 ± 9.6 vs. -0.8 ± 8.2, t(30) = 3.18, p = 0.003; PSS: -5.4 ± 8.1 vs. +2.2 ± 6.1, t(30) = -2.76, p = 0.010; SAS: -11.8 ± 12.3 vs.+ 2.9 ± 8.9, t(30) = -3.62, p = 0.001; and LASA: +0.4 ± 1.4 vs. -0.6 ± 1.0, t(30) = 2.29, p = 0.029.
Conclusions: A brief training to enhance resilience and decrease stress among physicians using the SMART program was feasible. Further, the intervention provided statistically significant improvement in resilience, stress, anxiety, and overall quality of life. In the future, larger clinical trials with longer follow-up and possibly wider dissemination of this intervention are warranted.