MONDAY, Jan. 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Higher levels of perceived stress, poorer sleep quality, and smartphone addiction contribute to burnout in osteopathic medical students, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Jennifer R. Brubaker and Elizabeth A. Beverly, Ph.D., both from the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, conducted a survey to assess levels of burnout in osteopathic medical students. The authors further examined the relationships between burnout and perceived stress, sleep quality, and smartphone use. The survey was completed by 385 participants (mean age, 25 years; 54.0 percent women; 74.3 percent white).

The researchers found that 2.3 percent of respondents reported high emotional exhaustion, 17.4 percent reported high depersonalization, and 80.5 percent reported a high level of low personal accomplishment. Only levels of personal accomplishment differed by gender, with men reporting higher levels of burnout versus women. Levels of depersonalization differed by year in medical school, with post hoc comparisons showing differences between years 1 and 3. Higher perceived stress, poorer sleep quality, and higher smartphone addiction scores were associated with higher emotional exhaustion as well as depersonalization. Only higher perceived stress was associated with higher levels of low personal accomplishment.

“If confirmed, wellness interventions can be designed to target two modifiable factors: sleep quality and smartphone use,” the authors write.

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