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Sexual-Minority Medical Students Have Higher Burnout

Last Updated: February 10, 2021.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Medical students in sexual-minority groups report increased symptoms of burnout regardless of their perceived experiences of mistreatment, according to a study published online Feb. 2 in JAMA Network Open.

Elizabeth A. Samuels, M.D., from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues surveyed U.S. medical students graduating in 2016 and 2017 (26,123 responses) to assess differences in medical student burnout by sexual orientation.

The researchers found that 5.4 percent of respondents identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB). Compared with heterosexual students, a greater proportion of LGB students reported experiencing mistreatment in all categories, including humiliation (27 percent LGB versus 20.7 percent heterosexual students), mistreatment not specific to identity (17 versus 10.3 percent), and mistreatment specific to gender (27.3 versus 17.9 percent), race/ethnicity (11.9 versus 8.6 percent), and sexual orientation (23.3 versus 1 percent). There were also increased odds of burnout observed among LGB students (odds ratio, 1.63), which persisted after adjusting for mistreatment (odds ratio, 1.36). There was a dose-response association seen between odds of burnout and mistreatment intensity. Mistreatment accounted for 31 percent of the total association of LGB sexual orientation with overall burnout.

"To build a healthy and high-performing LGB physician workforce, systemic, multidimensional approaches are needed to reduce both mistreatment and minority stress experienced by sexual minority medical students," the authors write.

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