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J Korean Surg Soc. 2013 May;84(5):261-6. doi: 10.4174/jkss.2013.84.5.261. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

Analysis of the occupational stress of Korean surgeons: a pilot study.

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Department of Surgery, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



Surgeons serve one of the most challenging and stressful professions. Ineffective control of occupational stress leads to burnout of the surgeon. The aim of this study was to obtain preliminary data on the sources and the degree of stress of surgeons and to determine the feasibility of the survey.


A total of 63 surgeons in our three affiliated hospitals were enrolled in this study. Fifty-five questions were used to assess the demographics, characteristics and Korean occupational stress scale (KOSS), which were prepared and validated by the National Study for Development and Standardization of Occupational Stress.


Forty-seven of the 63 surgeons participated in this study (74.6%). The mean KOSS score of the survey was 50.9 ± 8.55, which was significantly higher than that of other professions (P < 0.01). Drinking and smoking habits were not related to the KOSS score. Doing exercise was related to a low KOSS score in terms of low KOSS total score (P < 0.01). Average duty hours (P < 0.01) and night duty days per week (P = 0.01) were strongly related to higher KOSS in the linear regression analysis.


This is the first study to evaluate job stress of surgeons in Korea. This study showed that Korean Surgeons had higher occupational stress than other Korean professions. A larger study based on this pilot study will help generate objective data for occupational stress of Korean Surgeons by performing a survey of the members of the Korean Surgical Society.


Korean occupational stress scale (KOSS); Occupational stress; Surgeon; Workload

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