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To investigate the association of demographic, career, and lifestyle factors with resilience and the association of resilience with mental health outcomes in Canadian veterinarians.
1,130 veterinarians in clinical practice across Canada.
An online questionnaire was used to collect participant data and included 5 validated psychometric scales to evaluate resilience (through the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale [CD-RISC]), perceived stress (through the Perceived Stress Scale), emotional distress (through the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), burnout (through the Maslach Burnout Inventory), and secondary traumatic stress (through the Professional Quality of Life Scale). A multivariable linear regression model was used to investigate associations between CD-RISC scores and demographic, career, and lifestyle characteristics. Univariable linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between resilience scores and other mental health outcomes.
The strongest positive association was between CD-RISC score and overall health. The level of satisfaction with support from friends and workplace resources had positive associations with the CD-RISC score. The presence of mental illness had the strongest negative association with the CD-RISC score. Being married, working in a small animal practice, or having an associate role were negatively associated with the CD-RISC score. The CD-RISC score had negative associations with scores for perceived stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Models provided evidence for the role of resilience in protecting against negative mental health outcomes in veterinarians. Both personal and workplace factors were associated with resilience, presenting opportunities for intervention at each of these levels.
To estimate the prevalence of perceived stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, resilience, and suicidal ideation among Canadian veterinarians and compare results with those for other populations.
1,403 veterinarians across Canada.
The study represented a cross-sectional online survey. The questionnaire incorporated validated psychometric instruments to measure perceived stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, compassion fatigue, and resilience as well as questions regarding suicidal ideation. Means and relative proportions in categories of severity were compared between genders as well as with normative data for the general population and results for veterinarians in the United Kingdom.
Approximately 10% of Canadian veterinarians (n = 1,403) completed the survey. Relative to the general population, survey participants had significantly higher mean scores for subscales of burnout and compassion fatigue, anxiety, and depression and significantly lower mean resilience. Relative to males, females had significantly higher mean scores for perceived stress, emotional exhaustion, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression and significantly lower mean resilience. Participants also had higher mean scores for anxiety and depression relative to results for United Kingdom veterinarians. The 12-month prevalence of suicidal ideation for participants was 26.2%, which was substantially higher than the estimated prevalence for the general international population (2.1% to 10.0%).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results suggested that the mental health of Canadian veterinarians was poor, compared with the mental health of the general population. These results should serve as a call to action for tools and educational programs directed at supporting veterinarian mental wellness in Canada, with special attention paid to the disparate needs of the genders.