Stressors and protective factors among regional and metropolitan Australian medical doctors: A mixed methods investigation

Clough, Bonnie A. and Ireland, Michael J. and Leane, Sheena and March, Sonja ORCID: (2020) Stressors and protective factors among regional and metropolitan Australian medical doctors: A mixed methods investigation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 76 (7). pp. 1362-1389. ISSN 0021-9762


This study aimed to compare stress, burnout, stressors, and protective factors among regional‐ and metropolitan‐based Australian medical doctors.

A mixed methods design was utilized with 252 Australian medical doctors completing an online questionnaire package. A subsample also completed qualitative interviews.

Stress was significantly higher among doctors compared with population norms. Over half of doctors reported burnout on one or more dimensions. The strongest unique predictors were being female, working late, and work–family conflict. Qualitatively, 12 stressors (e.g., training and competition, workload, and time management) and 9 protective subthemes (e.g., being well resourced, clinical interest) emerged across system‐level, clinical environment‐level, and individual factor and personal response themes.

Stress and burnout among doctors are alarmingly high and both system/organization‐level (e.g., communication systems, workload, flexible work arrangements) and individual‐level (e.g., fostering resilience/coping strategies) predictors are implicated by our results. These may be useful targets for future interventions.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2020 01:42
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2020 04:32
Uncontrolled Keywords: burnout; doctor; mental health; physician; regional; stress; work environment
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health
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