Original Article

Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 247-251

First online:

Selected Characteristics and Data of Psychiatrists in the United States, 2001–2002

  • James H. ScullyAffiliated withAmerican Psychiatric Association Email author 
  • , Joshua E. WilkAffiliated withAmerican Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education

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Objective: To provide basic data about the physician workforce as a whole and the relative place of psychiatrists in the total workforce. To provide data on characteristics of psychiatrists’ work activities in routine psychiatric practice. Method: Data were obtained from the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the United States, 2002–2003 and the 2002 National Survey of Psychiatric Practice, a nationally representative survey of 2,000 randomly selected psychiatrists in the United States. Results: Psychiatry is the fourth largest specialty in the United States. Since 1970, psychiatry has grown 86.7%, while child psychiatry has grown 194.6%. However, psychiatrists are distributed unequally across the country, are working fewer hours than in the past, and less of their time is spent in direct patient care activities. Conclusions: Psychiatry is a growing and significant part of the U.S. physician workforce. However, if trends that show the psychiatric workforce is aging and working fewer hours continue, it is unclear if its current rate of growth will be able to keep pace with the demand for psychiatric services.