Evaluation of stress experienced by pharmacy residents

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Results of a study of stress and negative affect levels in postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) and postgraduate year 2 (PGY2) pharmacy residents are presented.


A cross-sectional approach was used. Pharmacy residency program directors received e-mailed invitation letters requesting that they ask their residents to participate in an online survey in 2011. The main study outcomes included evaluation of resident scores on the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS10) and the Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist–Revised (MAACL-R) anxiety, depression, hostility, and dysphoria subscales.


Of the 524 pharmacy residents included in the study, 75.4% were female, 41.2% were under 26 years of age, and 41% reported working more than 60 hours per week. There were no significant differences between PGY1 and PGY2 residents in stress levels, as assessed with the PSS10 (mean ± S.D. score, 19.05 ± 5.96 versus 19.09 ± 5.77). MAACL-R scores for hostility were, on average, higher among PGY2 residents (mean ± S.D., 50.83 ± 10.02) than among PGY1 residents (48.62 ± 8.96), while there were no significant differences in anxiety, depression, and dysphoria levels. Relative to residents who worked 60 or fewer hours per week, those who worked more than 60 hours had higher perceived stress levels as well as higher depression, hostility, and dysphoria scores.


Pharmacy residents exhibited high levels of perceived stress, especially those who worked more than 60 hours per week. Perceived stress was highly correlated to negative affect levels.

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