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Vol 6, No 4 (2007)
Original articles
Published online: 2008-02-20
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A comparative analysis of the mental health of medical practitioners specializing in different fields. How to live healthily in palliative medicine?

Małgorzata Krajnik, Magdalena Muszalska, Maria Rogiewicz
Advances in Palliative Medicine 2007;6(4):131-136.

open access

Vol 6, No 4 (2007)
Original articles
Published online: 2008-02-20

Abstract

Background. Mental health can be defined as a process of searching and maintaining balance in the face of the strain constantly being imposed on an organism by its environment. Medical practitioners, whose work is the source of significant stress, are considered to be especially prone to deterioration in mental health. The aim of the study was to evaluate the mental health of palliative care specialists in comparison with other medical practitioners.
Material and methods. For the evaluation of mental health, the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) was applied. The results of prior studies on personality traits in accordance with the Five Factor Theory of Personality and the patterns of coping measured by the AVEM questionnaire were used to determine the predictors of poor mental health in palliative care specialists.
Results. The study sample group consisted of 518 medical practitioners of different specializations, including 79 palliative care specialists, 74 surgeons, 77 psychiatrists, 65 anaesthetists, 84 general practitioners, 67 radiologists and 72 dentists. It has been proved that mental condition is dependent on specialization (the best results appeared among psychiatrists, the worst among anaesthetists and radiologists). Every third palliative care specialist shows disorders in mental health. The disorder predictors in this group of medical practitioners are as follows: a high level of neuroticism, low rate of openness to experience, low intensity of strategies ascribed to a healthy G pattern and thrifty pattern S.
Conclusion. The studied group of palliative care specialists shows moderately good mental condition. Mental health can be enhanced by applying techniques strengthening “healthy” types of behaviour and affect regulation and by developing openness to experience.

Abstract

Background. Mental health can be defined as a process of searching and maintaining balance in the face of the strain constantly being imposed on an organism by its environment. Medical practitioners, whose work is the source of significant stress, are considered to be especially prone to deterioration in mental health. The aim of the study was to evaluate the mental health of palliative care specialists in comparison with other medical practitioners.
Material and methods. For the evaluation of mental health, the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) was applied. The results of prior studies on personality traits in accordance with the Five Factor Theory of Personality and the patterns of coping measured by the AVEM questionnaire were used to determine the predictors of poor mental health in palliative care specialists.
Results. The study sample group consisted of 518 medical practitioners of different specializations, including 79 palliative care specialists, 74 surgeons, 77 psychiatrists, 65 anaesthetists, 84 general practitioners, 67 radiologists and 72 dentists. It has been proved that mental condition is dependent on specialization (the best results appeared among psychiatrists, the worst among anaesthetists and radiologists). Every third palliative care specialist shows disorders in mental health. The disorder predictors in this group of medical practitioners are as follows: a high level of neuroticism, low rate of openness to experience, low intensity of strategies ascribed to a healthy G pattern and thrifty pattern S.
Conclusion. The studied group of palliative care specialists shows moderately good mental condition. Mental health can be enhanced by applying techniques strengthening “healthy” types of behaviour and affect regulation and by developing openness to experience.
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Keywords

palliative medicine; mental health; General Health Questionnaire

About this article
Title

A comparative analysis of the mental health of medical practitioners specializing in different fields. How to live healthily in palliative medicine?

Journal

Advances in Palliative Medicine

Issue

Vol 6, No 4 (2007)

Pages

131-136

Published online

2008-02-20

Bibliographic record

Advances in Palliative Medicine 2007;6(4):131-136.

Keywords

palliative medicine
mental health
General Health Questionnaire

Authors

Małgorzata Krajnik
Magdalena Muszalska
Maria Rogiewicz

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