Date of this Version
Bracht C. 2021. An Analysis of the Behaviors Used by Physicians and (Pre)Medical Students to Cope with Stress. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
Physicians (both practicing and resident) in the U.S. are experiencing high rates of burnout and mental health issues because of the stressors related to their career and the lack of coping mechanisms in practice by these physicians. As a population, physicians normalize internalization of their stress as members of a “proud” community. This study sought to examine the positive, negative, and positive addiction coping mechanisms that physicians use to relieve job-related stress using the following coping domains: emotion-oriented, task-oriented, and avoidance-oriented coping. We further sought to examine stressors and coping mechanisms that are introduced in (pre)medical school and how they influence physicians’ career experiences. It was found that participants were not effectively coping with their stress, and their institutions were not providing realistic solutions to their stressors. Further, it was found that there are many systemic sources for participant stress while the blame for most of the stress was suggested to be placed on the participants themselves. The study concluded that the medical community should find ways to reduce mental health stigma; increase access to mental health, stress management, and coping resources; and create pathways to reduce the systemic issues causing stress rather than treating the symptoms of the disease caused by the healthcare system.