Background: Common mental disorders (CMD-burnout, stress, depression and anxiety disorders) are prevalent in physicians.
Aims: To investigate the relationship between CMD and medical incidents and/or unprofessional behaviour in hospital physicians.
Methods: PubMed was searched for all articles published between 2003 and 2013 that study a relationship between CMD and medical incidents and/or unprofessional behaviour in hospital physicians. The strength of evidence was assessed through five levels of evidence.
Results: We included 15 studies. We found strong evidence for a significant association between burnout and the occurrence of medical incidents, based on two longitudinal and seven cross-sectional studies with a positive association [odds ratio (OR) 1.07-5.5]; one longitudinal study found a non-significant association (strong evidence). For the association between depression and medical incidents, four longitudinal studies and three cross-sectional studies found a significant positive association (strong evidence; OR 2.21-3.29). For the association between fatigue and medical incidents, one longitudinal study and one cross-sectional study showed a significant positive association, but one cross-sectional study showed a non-significant association (strong evidence; OR 1.37). For the association between sleepiness and medical incidents, one longitudinal study and two cross-sectional studies showed a significant positive association (strong evidence; OR 1.10-1.37). No significant association was found between burnout and unprofessional behaviour (inconsistent evidence). Nor was any evidence found for the association between unprofessional behaviour and depression, fatigue or sleepiness.
Conclusions: CMD in hospital physicians were associated with the occurrence of self-reported medical incidents, but there was inconsistent evidence for unprofessional behaviour.
Keywords: Burnout; depression; fatigue; medical error; physician; resident..
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