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VOLUME 19 , ISSUE 5 ( 2015 ) > List of Articles


Stress levels of critical care doctors in India: A national survey

Kartik Munta, Palepu B. Gopal

Keywords : Critical care doctors, General Health Questionnaire-12 scale, stress levels, stressors

Citation Information : Munta K, Gopal PB. Stress levels of critical care doctors in India: A national survey. Indian J Crit Care Med 2015; 19 (5):257-264.

DOI: 10.4103/0972-5229.156464

License: CC BY-ND 3.0

Published Online: 01-03-2016

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2015; The Author(s).


Background: Doctors working in critical care units are prone to higher stress due to various factors such as higher mortality and morbidity, demanding service conditions and need for higher knowledge and technical skill. Aim: The aim was to evaluate the stress level and the causative stressors in doctors working in critical care units in India. Materials and Methods: A two modality questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey was conducted. In manual mode, randomly selected delegates attending the annual congress of Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine filled the questionnaire. In the electronic mode, the questionnaires were E-mailed to critical care doctors. These questionnaires were based on General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12). Completely filled 242 responses were utilized for comparative and correlation analysis. Results: Prevalence of moderate to severe stress level was 40% with a mean score of 2 on GHQ-12 scale. Too much responsibility at times and managing VIP patients ranked as the top two stressors studied, while the difficult relationship with colleagues and sexual harassment were the least. Intensivists were spending longest hours in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) followed by pulmonologists and anesthetists. The mean number of ICU bed critical care doctors entrusted with was 13.2 ± 6.3. Substance abuse to relieve stress was reported as alcohol (21%), anxiolytic or antidepressants (18%) and smoking (14%). Conclusion: Despite the higher workload, stress levels measured in our survey in Indian critical care doctors were lower compared to International data. Substantiation of this data through a wider study and broad-based measures to improve the quality of critical care units and quality of the lives of these doctors is the need of the hour.

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