Work Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Medicine Residents

  • Lakshmi Kannan
  • David S. Wheeler
  • Scott Blumhof
  • Jonathan Gotfried
  • Allison Ferris
  • Ajita Mathur
  • Elizabeth Hembree
  • Darilyn Moyer
  • Janani Rangaswami
Empirical Report



This study sought to screen for the burden of work-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in internal medicine residents.


A cross-sectional survey of internal medicine residents from three academic institutions was conducted using the PCL-5 screening tool.


Off all residents surveyed, 5.2% screened positive for PTSD symptoms (N = 194). 86.1% of all trainees identified stressors during training. Positive PTSD screens were significantly higher in PGY3 residents (X2 = 15.24, p = 0.0005). Of all PGY3 residents, 9.8% (N = 4) and 14.6% (N = 6) of residents screened positive for PTSD symptoms based on absolute and cluster score criteria, respectively. Verbal/physical assault by patients/families/colleagues were triggers for the most cases of positive screens.


Self-reported stressors are highly prevalent in internal medicine trainees. Verbal/physical assault by patients and families appear to be the triggering event for most positive screens. These observations will help with future study designs to quantify the burden of work related PTSD in internal medicine trainee physicians so that appropriate supportive measures can be provided.


Post-traumatic stress disorder Internal medicine training Residents 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lakshmi Kannan
    • 1
  • David S. Wheeler
    • 2
  • Scott Blumhof
    • 3
  • Jonathan Gotfried
    • 4
  • Allison Ferris
    • 5
  • Ajita Mathur
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Hembree
    • 6
  • Darilyn Moyer
    • 7
  • Janani Rangaswami
    • 1
  1. 1.Einstein Medical Center PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.University of AlabamaBirminghamUSA
  4. 4.Temple University HospitalPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Florida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  6. 6.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.American College of PhysiciansPhiladelphiaUSA

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