Family doctors in Kansas were studied for their levels of burnout and other forms of mental distress during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study’s authors compared their findings to those of another similar study done 3 months into the pandemic. 

From September 15th to October 18th, 2021, a cross-sectional online survey of 272 Kansas family physicians who are currently in practice was undertaken. The doctors’ degrees of burnout, depression, anxiety, and stress were assessed using a 34-item questionnaire. When gathering, analyzing, and deducing meaning from the data, a multi-pronged strategy was employed. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, a Mann-Whitney U test/independent samples t-test, a χ2 test, an adjusted odds ratio, and an immersion-crystallization technique. In total, 133 people answered the survey, for a response rate of 48.9%. 

In 2021, 69.2% of respondents, up from 50.4% in 2020 (P≤.01), said they had experienced at least 1 symptom of professional burnout. Burnout was more likely among the 2021 respondents than the 2020 respondents (aOR = 1.86; 95% CI, 1.00 to 3.57; P =.046). At least 1 symptom of professional burnout was associated with increased odds of screening positive for depression (aOR = 1.87; 95% CI, 1.31-2.66; P ≤ .01), report higher levels of anxiety (aOR = 1.53; 95% CI, 1.04-2.24; P = .013), and higher levels of stress (aOR = 1.39; 95% CI, 1.17-1.66; P≤ .001). 

Due of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, family doctors are experiencing high and rising rates of fatigue and emotional distress. These results point to the importance of providing timely access to suitable psychological services.

Source: jabfm.org/content/35/5/921