Medical College of Wisconsin
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When residents need health care: stigma of the patient role. Acad Psychiatry 2009;33(6):431-41



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-72149089569 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   47 Citations


OBJECTIVE: Whether and under what circumstances medical residents seek personal health care is a growing concern that has important implications for medical education and patient welfare, but has not been thoroughly investigated. Barriers to obtaining care have been previously documented, but very little empirical work has focused on trainees who seek health care at their home institution.

METHODS: A self-report survey on special issues in personal health care of residents was created and distributed at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in 2001. The authors report findings regarding stigma, fear of jeopardy to training status, and attitudes toward seeking self-care for residents in dual roles as patients and trainees.

RESULTS: Residents (N=155) rated their concerns regarding stigma and jeopardy to training status and the likelihood of seeking care at their training institution for six vignettes. The vignettes were paired to make comparisons between attending or supervisor as treating physician and between clinical scenarios. Alcohol abuse, nausea and diarrhea, panic attacks, and pregnancy were the most highly stigmatizing to residents; diabetes and hypertension were the least. Differences were also found for gender and specialty.

CONCLUSION: Residents' perceived stigma for clinical situations was an influential factor, strongly affecting concern about jeopardizing training status and likelihood of avoiding care at their home institution.

Author List

Moutier C, Cornette M, Lehrmann J, Geppert C, Tsao C, DeBoard R, Hammond KG, Roberts LW


Jon A. Lehrmann MD Chair, Professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Clinical Competence
Data Collection
Education, Medical, Graduate
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Health Services Accessibility
Health Services Needs and Demand
Interdisciplinary Communication
Internship and Residency
Middle Aged
New Mexico
Patient Acceptance of Health Care
Physician Impairment
Physician's Role
Pilot Projects
Self Care
Sick Role
Social Perception
Social Support