GP mental well-being and psychological resources

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Background The negative impact of work has been the traditional focus of GP surveys. We know little about GP positive mental health and psychological resources.Aim To profile and contextualise GP positive mental health and personal psychological resources.Design and setting Cross-sectional survey of GPs working in Northern Ireland (NI).Method A questionnaire comprising the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) and measures of resilience, optimism, self-efficacy, and hope, and sociodemographic information was posted to 400 GPs randomly selected from a publicly available GP register.Results The response rate was 55% (n = 221 out of 400). Mean value for GP wellbeing (WEMWBS) was 50.2 (standard deviation [SD] 8) compared to UK vets 48.8 (SD 9), UK teachers 47.2 (SD 9), and the population of NI 50.8 (SD 9). After adjustment for confounding, mean WEMWBS was 2.4 units (95% CI = 0.02 to 4.7) higher in female GPs than males (P = 0.05), and 4.0 units (95% CI = 0.8 to 7.3) higher in GPs ≥55 years than GPs ≤44 years (P = 0.02). Optimism was 1.1 units higher in female GPs than male GPs (95% CI = 0.1 to 2.0), and 1.56 units higher in GPs ≥55 years (95% CI = 0.2 to 2.9) than in those ≤44 years. Hope was 3 units higher in GPs ≥55 years (95% CI = 0.4 to 5.7) than in those aged 45–54 years. Correlation between WEMWBS and psychological resources was highest with hope (r = 0.65, P < 0.001).Conclusion GPs have levels of positive mental health that are comparable to the local population and better than other occupational groups, such as vets and teachers. Male and younger GPs may have most to gain from wellbeing interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e547-e554
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number661
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2017


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