Self-rated health of primary care house officers and its relationship to psychological and spiritual well-being

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BMC Medical Education






Background. The stress associated with residency training may place house officers at risk for poorer health. We sought to determine the level of self-reported health among resident physicians and to ascertain factors that are associated with their reported health. Methods. A questionnaire was administered to house officers in 4 residency programs at a large Midwestern medical center. Self-rated health was determined by using a health rating scale (ranging from 0 = death to 100 = perfect health) and a Likert scale (ranging from "poor" health to "excellent" health). Independent variables included demographics, residency program type, post-graduate year level, current rotation, depressive symptoms, religious affiliation, religiosity, religious coping, and spirituality. Results. We collected data from 227 subjects (92% response rate). The overall mean (SD) health rating score was 87 (10; range, 40-100), with only 4 (2%) subjects reporting a score of 100; on the Likert scale, only 88 (39%) reported excellent health. Lower health rating scores were significantly associated (P < 0.05) with internal medicine residency program, post-graduate year level, depressive symptoms, and poorer spiritual well-being. In multivariable analyses, lower health rating scores were associated with internal medicine residency program, depressive symptoms, and poorer spiritual well-being. Conclusion. Residents' self-rated health was poorer than might be expected in a cohort of relatively young physicians and was related to program type, depressive symptoms, and spiritual well-being. Future studies should examine whether treating depressive symptoms and attending to spiritual needs can improve the overall health and well-being of primary care house officers. © 2007 Yi et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.