Religion, Spirituality, and Depressive Symptoms in Primary Care House Officers

Michael S. Yi, Sara E. Luckhaupt, Joseph M. Mrus, Caroline V. Mueller, Amy H. Peterman, Christina M. Puchalski, Joel Tsevat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: The arduous nature of residency training places house officers at risk for depression. We sought to determine the prevalence of depressive symptoms in pediatric (PED), internal medicine (IM), family medicine (FM), and combined internal medicine-pediatric (IMPED) house staff, and spiritual/religious factors that are associated with prevalence of depressive symptoms. Methods: PED, IM, FM, and IMPED residents at a major teaching program were asked to complete a questionnaire during their In-Training Examination. Depressive symptoms were measured with the 10-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Independent variables included demographics, residency program type, postgraduate level, current rotation, health status, religious affiliation, religiosity, religious coping, and spirituality. Results: We collected data from 227 subjects. Their mean (SD) age was 28.7 (3.8) years; 131 (58%) were women; 167 (74%) were white; and 112 (49%) were PED, 62 (27%) were IM, 27 (12%) were FM, and 26 (12%) were IMPED residents. Fifty-seven house officers (25%) met the criteria for having significant depressive symptoms. Having depressive symptoms was significantly associated (P< .05) with residency program type, inpatient rotation status, poorer health status, poorer religious coping, and worse spiritual well-being. In multivariable analyses, having significant depressive symptoms was associated with program type, poorer religious coping, greater spiritual support seeking, and worse spiritual well-being. Conclusions: Depressive symptoms are prevalent among house officers and are associated with certain residency program types and with residents' spiritual and religious characteristics. Identifying residents with depressive symptoms and potentially attending to their spiritual needs may improve their well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalAmbulatory Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • depression
  • house staff
  • religion
  • residency
  • spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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