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Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2009;55(1):51-69.

[Social support and physicians' health].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Abteilung Gesundheits- und Verhaltenswissenschaften, Theologische Hochschule Friedensau, An der Ihle 19, 39291 Friedensau.



Over the last decades, social support (SU) has proved to be an important psychological health resource in the prevention of mental and physical illness as well as for the promotion and restoration of general health. This study evaluates the relevance of social support for the health and well-being of physicians.


This is a systematic literature review using PubMed from 1970 to 2007 with the keywords "social support", "physicians", "physician's role", and respectively "medical staff, hospital" from medical subheadings (MeSH). From the retrieved articles the additionally relevant keywords "marriage", "spouse", "friends", and "self-help groups" (MeSH) were identified and researched.


Social support with distinct effects on physician's health could be shown in the areas of colleagues and professional network (30 sources), marriage/spouse (47), friends (3), and support groups (13). Female physicians appeared to seek and profit more from SU than did male physicians. Informal friendships have yet to be evaluated thoroughly.


In the light of a physician's daily stress, SU appears to be a jeopardized resource that could significantly contribute to the prevention of burnout or other profession-related symptoms or illnesses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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