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Not all coping strategies are created equal: a mixed methods study exploring physicians' self reported coping strategies.

Lemaire JB, Wallace JE - BMC Health Serv Res (2010)

Bottom Line: In addition, questionnaire data is utilized to explore the degree to which the coping strategies are used and are associated with feelings of emotional exhaustion, a key symptom of burnout.Some less often used workplace coping strategies (e.g., taking a time out) and all those used after work were negatively correlated with frequency of emotional exhaustion.This knowledge may be integrated into practical physician stress reduction interventions.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Health Sciences Center, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. lemaire@ucalgary.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Physicians experience workplace stress and draw on different coping strategies. The primary goal of this paper is to use interview data to explore physicians' self reported coping strategies. In addition, questionnaire data is utilized to explore the degree to which the coping strategies are used and are associated with feelings of emotional exhaustion, a key symptom of burnout.

Methods: This mixed methods study explores factors related to physician wellness within a large health region in Western Canada. This paper focuses on the coping strategies that physicians use in response to work-related stress. The qualitative component explores physicians' self reported coping strategies through open ended interviews of 42 physicians representing diverse medical specialties and settings (91% response rate). The major themes extracted from the qualitative interviews were used to construct 12 survey items that were included in the comprehensive quantitative questionnaire. Questionnaires were sent to all eligible physicians in the health region with 1178 completed surveys (40% response rate.) Questionnaire items were used to measure how often physicians draw on the various coping strategies. Feelings of burnout were also measured in the survey by 5 items from the Emotional Exhaustion subscale of the revised Maslach Burnout Inventory.

Results: Major themes identified from the interviews include coping strategies used at work (e.g., working through stress, talking with co-workers, taking a time out, using humor) and after work (e.g., exercise, quiet time, spending time with family). Analysis of the questionnaire data showed three often used workplace coping strategies were positively correlated with feeling emotionally exhausted (i.e., keeping stress to oneself (r = .23), concentrating on what to do next (r = .16), and going on as if nothing happened (r = .07)). Some less often used workplace coping strategies (e.g., taking a time out) and all those used after work were negatively correlated with frequency of emotional exhaustion.

Conclusions: Physicians' self reported coping strategies are not all created equal in terms of frequency of use and correlation with feeling emotionally exhausted from one's work. This knowledge may be integrated into practical physician stress reduction interventions.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Frequency of use of physicians' coping strategies (n = 1151).
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Figure 2: Frequency of use of physicians' coping strategies (n = 1151).

Mentions: For the qualitative component, the authors and the research assistant used an inductive strategy through open and selective coding to derive the predominant themes reflected in the interview transcripts. For the quantitative component, first we calculated the frequency results for the coping strategies. In Figure 2, we focus on the extent to which the coping strategies are regularly used by reporting whether respondents use that strategy sometimes, often or most of the time. To determine the relationship between each of the coping strategies and how often physicians feel emotionally exhausted, zero-order correlations were used. The correlation indicates the direction and magnitude of the relationship between each pair of variables. A statistically significant positive correlation means that the more frequently physicians use that coping strategy, the more often they experience emotional exhaustion, or symptoms of burnout. A statistically significant negative correlation means that the more frequently physicians use that coping strategy, the less often they experience emotional exhaustion.


Not all coping strategies are created equal: a mixed methods study exploring physicians' self reported coping strategies.

Lemaire JB, Wallace JE - BMC Health Serv Res (2010)

Frequency of use of physicians' coping strategies (n = 1151).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2914035&req=5

Figure 2: Frequency of use of physicians' coping strategies (n = 1151).
Mentions: For the qualitative component, the authors and the research assistant used an inductive strategy through open and selective coding to derive the predominant themes reflected in the interview transcripts. For the quantitative component, first we calculated the frequency results for the coping strategies. In Figure 2, we focus on the extent to which the coping strategies are regularly used by reporting whether respondents use that strategy sometimes, often or most of the time. To determine the relationship between each of the coping strategies and how often physicians feel emotionally exhausted, zero-order correlations were used. The correlation indicates the direction and magnitude of the relationship between each pair of variables. A statistically significant positive correlation means that the more frequently physicians use that coping strategy, the more often they experience emotional exhaustion, or symptoms of burnout. A statistically significant negative correlation means that the more frequently physicians use that coping strategy, the less often they experience emotional exhaustion.

Bottom Line: In addition, questionnaire data is utilized to explore the degree to which the coping strategies are used and are associated with feelings of emotional exhaustion, a key symptom of burnout.Some less often used workplace coping strategies (e.g., taking a time out) and all those used after work were negatively correlated with frequency of emotional exhaustion.This knowledge may be integrated into practical physician stress reduction interventions.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Health Sciences Center, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. lemaire@ucalgary.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Physicians experience workplace stress and draw on different coping strategies. The primary goal of this paper is to use interview data to explore physicians' self reported coping strategies. In addition, questionnaire data is utilized to explore the degree to which the coping strategies are used and are associated with feelings of emotional exhaustion, a key symptom of burnout.

Methods: This mixed methods study explores factors related to physician wellness within a large health region in Western Canada. This paper focuses on the coping strategies that physicians use in response to work-related stress. The qualitative component explores physicians' self reported coping strategies through open ended interviews of 42 physicians representing diverse medical specialties and settings (91% response rate). The major themes extracted from the qualitative interviews were used to construct 12 survey items that were included in the comprehensive quantitative questionnaire. Questionnaires were sent to all eligible physicians in the health region with 1178 completed surveys (40% response rate.) Questionnaire items were used to measure how often physicians draw on the various coping strategies. Feelings of burnout were also measured in the survey by 5 items from the Emotional Exhaustion subscale of the revised Maslach Burnout Inventory.

Results: Major themes identified from the interviews include coping strategies used at work (e.g., working through stress, talking with co-workers, taking a time out, using humor) and after work (e.g., exercise, quiet time, spending time with family). Analysis of the questionnaire data showed three often used workplace coping strategies were positively correlated with feeling emotionally exhausted (i.e., keeping stress to oneself (r = .23), concentrating on what to do next (r = .16), and going on as if nothing happened (r = .07)). Some less often used workplace coping strategies (e.g., taking a time out) and all those used after work were negatively correlated with frequency of emotional exhaustion.

Conclusions: Physicians' self reported coping strategies are not all created equal in terms of frequency of use and correlation with feeling emotionally exhausted from one's work. This knowledge may be integrated into practical physician stress reduction interventions.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus