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Racial bias associated with burnout among resident physicians

July 26, 2019

Bottom Line: Symptoms of physician burnout appear to be associated with greater bias toward black people in this study of nearly 3,400 second-year resident physicians in the United States who identified as nonblack. Survey data from questionnaires that were part of another study were used. About 45% of physician residents had symptoms of burnout. Explicit bias was measured on a "feeling thermometer" with the lowest score meaning cold or unfavorable toward black people and the highest score meaning warm or favorable; implict bias was measured on a test that involved sorting pictures of white and black people and words to describe them including "good" and "bad." Study authors suggest symptoms of burnout may be factors in care disparities. However, this observational study cannot determine if the suggested association between symptoms of burnout and bias toward black people is causal and the magnitude of the observed association was small to medium.

Authors: Liselotte Dyrbye, M.D., M.H.P.E., of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.7457)

Editor's Note: The article includes funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
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About JAMA Network Open: JAMA Network Open is the new online-only open access general medical journal from the JAMA Network. Every Wednesday and Friday, the journal publishes peer-reviewed clinical research and commentary in more than 40 medical and health subject areas. Every article is free online from the day of publication.

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