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Ann Surg Treat Res. 2015 Nov;89(5):268-74. doi: 10.4174/astr.2015.89.5.268. Epub 2015 Oct 28.

Occupational stress and related factors among surgical residents in Korea.

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Department of Surgery, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Medical Statistics, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.



The application rate for surgical residents in Korea has continuously decreased over the past few years. The demanding workload and the occupational stress of surgical training are likely causes of this problem. The aim of this study was to investigate occupational stress and its related factors in Korean surgical residents.


With the support of the Korean Surgical Society, we conducted an electronic survey of Korean surgical residents related to occupational stress. We used the Korean Occupational Stress Scale (KOSS) to measure occupational stress. We analyzed the data focused on the stress level and the factors associated with occupational stress.


The mean KOSS score of the surgical residents was 55.39, which was significantly higher than that of practicing surgeons (48.16, P < 0.001) and the average score of specialized professionals (46.03, P < 0.001). Exercise was the only factor found to be significantly associated with KOSS score (P = 0.001) in univariate analysis. However, in multiple linear regression analysis, the mean number of assigned patients, resident occupation rate and exercise were all significantly associated with KOSS score.


Surgical residents have high occupational stress compared to practicing surgeons and other professionals. Their mean number of assigned patients, resident recruitment rate and exercise were all significantly associated with occupational stress for surgical residents.


Burnout, Professional; Exercise; Occupational stress; Surgical resident

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