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J Family Med Prim Care. 2018 Mar-Apr;7(2):435-441. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_199_17.

Burnout and depression among medical residents in the United Arab Emirates: A Multicenter study.

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Department of Medical Education, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Medical College, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Department of Primary Health Care, Dubai Medical College, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Department of Academic Affairs, Tawam Hospital, College of Medicine, UAE University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
Bedfordshire Centre for Mental Health Research in Association with University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Department of Neurology, Carrick Institute, Cape Canaveral, FL, USA.
Department of Medical Education, Harvard Macy and MGH Institutes, Boston, MA, USA.



Persistent imbalance between work demands and resources seems to be a crucial contributor to the development of burnout among medical professionals. Yet, it seems that Middle East is lacking studies analyzing psychological well-being's of medical residents. Hence, we aimed to conduct a nationwide study to understand and address burnout and depression in medical residents in the UAE.


A multicenter, cross-sectional study was designed to evaluate professional burnout and depression among medical residents to address the gap.


Our results indicate that 75.5% (216/286) of UAE medical residents had moderate-to-high emotional exhaustion (EE), 84% (249/298) had high depersonalization (DP), and 74% (216/291) had a low sense of personal accomplishment. In aggregate, 70% (212/302) of medical residents were considered to be experiencing at least one symptom of burnout based on a high EE score or a high DP score. Depression ranging from 6% to 22%, depending on the specialty was also noted. Noticeably, 83% (40/48) of medical residents who had high scores for depression also reported burnout.


This study shows that burnout and depression are high among medical residents in UAE. There is a crucial need to address burnout through effective interventions at both the individual and institutional levels. Professional counseling services for residents will certainly be a step forward to manage resident burnout provided the social stigma associated with counseling can be eliminated with awareness. The work hour regulations suggested by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education partly provides a solution to improve patient safety and care quality. There is an urge to reconfigure the approach to medical training for the well-being of the next generation of physicians in the Arab world.


Burnout; United Arab Emirates; depression; mental health; residency training

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