Anxiety among newly-qualified doctors: An eight-year analysis

John Hugh McCullough, Clare van Hamel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Stressed and anxious doctors are more likely to make errors, take time off work and to leave medicine. This study aims to quantify the prevalence of anxiety among newly-qualified Foundation Year 1 doctors (FY1s), identify high risk groups and determine workplace factors associated with anxiety.

Methods: We investigated self-reported anxiety among eight cohorts of FY1s between 2010 and 2017. Participants completed an online survey after their first week of work (n = 11,839), with a follow-up survey later in the year (n = 3502). Surveys included questions about the workplace and a validated screening tool for pathological anxiety.

Results: Overall, a large proportion of doctors screened positive for pathological anxiety at the start of their FY1 year (27.3%) and after 4 months of work (21.0%). Year-on-year, we found a growing burden of anxiety at the start of FY1 (22.8% in 2010 vs. 29.6% in 2017, p < 0.01) and at follow-up. Anxiety was significantly higher among females (p < 0.01), those aged 21–25 (p < 0.05) and those who did not feel part of a team (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: We found a growing burden of anxiety among FY1s associated with a perceived lack of support. We hope our findings will inform interventions to support newly-qualified doctors as they transition into the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number1
Early online date22 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020

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