Junior Investigators Thinking About Quitting Research: A Survey

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE. Junior tenure-track faculty report high levels of stress and low satisfaction; the increasingly competitive funding environment compounds this discontent. We examined factors associated with junior investigators who were thinking about quitting research.

METHOD. Data were collected as part of a program evaluation of an interdisciplinary research mentoring program in an academic medical center.

RESULTS. Of the 62 mentees, 44 responded to the survey (71%). When asked “In the past year, have you considered quitting research?” 39 mentees answered the question; 17 (44%) answered in the affirmative. Those who had considered quitting had lower scores on the Clinical Research Appraisal Inventory–12 (CRAI–12) and job satisfaction and higher scores on burnout. In a regression model, we found that only CRAI–12 scores were significantly, inversely associated with thinking about quitting.

CONCLUSION. Factors associated with thinking about quitting included lower confidence in research skills, reduced job satisfaction, and higher levels of burnout.

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