WEDNESDAY, July 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Racially and ethnically underrepresented family physicians report a lower frequency of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization than non-underrepresented peers, according to a study published in the July 1 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Montgomery Douglas, M.D., from the University of Connecticut in Farmington, and colleagues used data from 1,510 American Board of Family Medicine recertification applicants in 2017 and 1,586 respondents to the 2017 National Graduate Survey to assess the association between burnout and physician race.

The researchers found that in total, 15 percent of respondents were from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine. Responding physicians who were underrepresented in medicine were significantly less likely to report emotional exhaustion (adjusted odds ratio, 0.82) and depersonalization (adjusted odds ratio, 0.54) compared with their non-underrepresented counterparts. Underrepresented physicians were more likely to practice in more racially and ethnically diverse counties and less likely to practice obstetrics compared with non-underrepresented peers, both of which partly mediated the protective effect of underrepresented status on depersonalization.

“Because physician burnout is a known predictor of job turnover and may also be associated with poorer quality of care, the lower burnout observed among underrepresented family physicians may be an asset for the health care system as a whole,” the authors write.

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