There is a national shortage of psychiatrists. To grow the workforce, educators must understand the factors that influence the choice of psychiatry as a specialty for medical students in the Generation Y cohort.
Psychiatry residents born between 1981 and 2000 were recruited from six psychiatry training programs across the USA and were interviewed in the fall of their first year. The interviews were coded and analyzed qualitatively for themes. Career Construction Theory (CCT) was applied to relate the themes within the four domains of Career Adaptability (a focus of CCT): concern, control, curiosity, and confidence.
The majority of themes mapped onto the four domains. A fifth domain, “contribution,” was created to capture additional themes. Themes associated with choosing psychiatry as a career included Practice Concerns and Economic/Lifestyle Concerns (concern), Changes in Stigma and Changes in Legitimacy (control), Exploring Humanity and Exposures to Psychiatry (curiosity), Abilities Called Upon by the Field, Recognized Qualities in the Participant, and Recognized Qualities in the Faculty/Residents (confidence), and Hoping to Make a Difference and Engaging in Research/Technology (contribution).
With the knowledge generated from this study, educators now have a guide for the kinds of learning experiences that may attract Generation Y students to the field, and can identify those with the background, values, or personality traits most likely to find a career in psychiatry to be attractive.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
The psychiatric shortage: causes and solutions. National Council Medical Director Institute. https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Psychiatric-Shortage_National-Council-.pdf. Accessed 15 Feb 2020.
Lyons Z. Attitudes of medical students toward psychiatry and psychiatry as a career: a systematic review. Acad Psychiatry. 2013;37:150–7.
Goldenberg MN, Williams DK, Spollen JJ. Stability of and factors related to medical student specialty choice of psychiatry. Am J Psychiatry. 2017;174:859–66.
Serby M, Schmeidler J, Smith J. Length of psychiatry clerkships: recent changes and the relationship to recruitment. Acad Psychiatry. 2002;26:102–4.
Bobo WV, Nevin R, Greene E, Lacy TJ. The effect of psychiatric third-year rotation setting on academic performance, student attitudes, and specialty choice. Acad Psychiatry. 2009;33:105–11.
Spollen JJ, Beck Dallaghan GL, Briscoe GW, Delanoche ND, Hales DJ. Medical school factors associated with higher rates of recruitment into psychiatry. Acad Psychiatry. 2017;41:233–8.
Dimock M. Defining generations: where millennials end and Generation Z begins. 2019. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/. Accessed 4 Mar 2020.
Savickas ML. The theory and practice of career construction. In: Brown SD, Lent RW, editors. Career development and counseling: putting theory and research to work. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Inc; 2005. p. 42–70.
Savickas M. Career Construction Theory. http://www.people.ku.edu/~tkrieshok/epsy846/lectures/career_construction.htm. Accessed 03 Mar 2020.
The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey: winning over the next generation. Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-millenial-survey-2016-exec-summary.pdf. Accessed 15 Feb 2020.
Wilbanks L, Spollen J, Messias E. Factors influencing medical school graduates toward a career in psychiatry: analysis from the 2011-2013 Association of American Medical Colleges Graduation Questionnaire. Acad Psychiatry. 2016;40:255–60.
Angermeyer MC, van der Auwera S, Carta MG, Schomerus G. Public attitudes towards psychiatry and psychiatric treatment at the beginning of the 21st century: a systematic review and meta-analysis of population surveys. World Psychiatry. 2017;16:50–61.
Sinsky C, Colligan L, Li L, Prgomet M, Reynolds S, Goeders L, et al. Allocation of physician time in ambulatory practice: a time and motion study in 4 specialties. Ann Intern Med. 2016;165:753–60.
Pidd SA. Recruiting and retaining psychiatrists. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 2003;9:405–11.
The Millennial Impact Reports- final report: understanding how millennials engage with causes and social issues. Case Foundation. http://www.themillennialimpact.com/sites/default/files/images/2018/MIR-10-Years-Looking-Back.pdf. Accessed 15 Feb 2020.
Funding for this study was provided to JJR by the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry
The Emory University IRB (primary site) and the IRBs from all the participating institutions (listed under Affiliations) designated this study to be exempt from review.
JJR receives research funding from Takeda, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and National Institutes of Mental Health.
GBD worked for the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry outside of the submitted work.
Dr. Richard Balon is an editor for the journal Academic Psychiatry. Manuscripts that are authored by a member of the Editorial Board undergo the same editorial review process applied to all manuscripts, including blinded peer review.
All other authors have no disclosures.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Russo, R.A., Dallaghan, G.B., Balon, R. et al. Millennials in Psychiatry: Exploring Career Choice Factors in Generation Y Psychiatry Interns. Acad Psychiatry 44, 727–733 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40596-020-01272-3
- Professional identity