WEDNESDAY, July 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Symptoms of burnout seem to be associated with greater explicit and implicit racial bias among resident physicians, according to a study published online July 26 in JAMA Network Open.

Liselotte Dyrbye, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues examined the correlation between burnout and racial biases toward black people among resident physicians. Data were included from 3,392 resident physicians who self-identified as belonging to a racial group other than black.

The researchers found that 45.2 percent of the resident physicians had symptoms of burnout and 41.3 percent had depression. The mean feeling thermometer (FT) score was 77.9 and 81.1 toward black and white people, respectively, on a scale of 0 to 100, which ranged from very cold or unfavorable to very warm or favorable. The mean racial Implicit Association Test (IAT) score was 0.4. Burnout in the second year of residency was associated with greater explicit and implicit racial biases. Resident physicians with burnout had greater explicit racial bias (difference in FT score, −2.40) and implicit racial bias (difference in IAT score, 0.05) after adjustment for variables such as depression and FT scores toward white people.

“Given the high prevalence of burnout among physicians and the negative implications of bias for medical care, symptoms of burnout may be factors in disparities in care,” the authors write. “The implications for the quality of care provided to black people and other disadvantaged groups could be substantial.”

One author disclosed financial ties to CWS Inc.

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