STUDYING THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN POSTGRADUATE TRAINEES’ WORK HOURS, STRESS AND THE USE OF MALADAPTIVE COPING STRATEGIES

Authors

  • Pashtoon Murtaza Kasi
  • Talha Khawar
  • Farooq Hasan Khan
  • Jawad Ghazanfar Kiani
  • Umber Zaheer Khan
  • Hadi Mohammad Khan
  • Urooj Bakht Khuwaja
  • Musa Rahim

Abstract

Background: The growing debate regarding long working hours of postgraduate trainees has beenreceiving considerable attention recently. This greater workload contributes to increasing stress.Our objective was to specifically study the association between long working hours, stress and thegreater use of ‘maladaptive’ coping strategies. Methods : A cross-sectional descriptive study wascarried out on all interns and residents at the Aga Khan University Hospital during February toMay, 2005. Level of stress was measured by use of General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) andthe use of maladaptive coping mechanisms through Brief Cope-28. Results: 55.1 % scored overthe threshold for mild stress i.e. GHQ > 3, while more than 46% of the trainees scored over thethreshold of more than 4 for morbid stress. Trainees under stress reported more working hours onaverage as compared to those not under stress, 83.8 and 74.7 hours respectively. At the sametime, those working for longer hours were more likely to have used these negative copingmechanisms, which would further contribute to more stress rather than relieving it. Conclusions:Significant levels of stress have been identified. Along with this, those working for longer hourswere more likely to have used these negative coping mechanisms. Reduction of working hours isimportant. Simultaneously, interventions need to be planned at imparting knowledge, awarenessand skills to cope with various kinds of stressors encountered by a trainee during his/her training.Additionally, limits need to be devised for the working hours of the trainees.Keywords: Postgraduate, resident, intern, working hours, stress, maladaptive coping strategies,GHQ-12, Brief Cope, Pakistan, Medical Education.

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