Stressors in anaesthesiology: development and validation of a new questionnaire

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Stress in anaesthesiologists is a common and multifactorial problem related to patients, colleagues and organisations. The consequences of stress include depression, work–home conflicts and burnout. Reduction in stress can be achieved by reducing the number and magnitude of stressors or by increasing resilience strategies.

OBJECTIVES

We have created the self-reporting ‘Stress Questionnaire in Anaesthesiologists’ (SQA), to qualify the sources of stress in anaesthesiologists’ professional lives, and measure the level of associated stress. Our study aimed to develop and validate the SQA using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Construct validity was assessed through correlations between SQA and negative psychological outcomes as well as by comparing perception of stress among different known groups.

DESIGN

A questionnaire-based cross-sectional, correlational, observational study.

SETTINGS

The study was conducted between January 2014 and December 2014, throughout different anaesthesia departments in Portuguese hospitals. Data collection was from a representative subset at one specific time point.

PARTICIPANTS

A sample of 710 anaesthesia specialists and residents from Portugal.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES

The primary outcome measure was to identify specific stressors in anaesthesiologists. Secondary outcome was the association between stressors and burnout, depression symptoms, anxiety, stress, rumination, satisfaction with life and functional impairment.

RESULTS

The exploratory analysis showed the SQA is a tri-dimensional instrument and confirmatory analysis showed the tri-dimensional structure presented good model fit. The three dimensions of SQA correlated positively with other stress measures and burnout, but negatively with satisfaction with life.

CONCLUSION

SQA is a well adjusted measure for assessing stressors in anaesthesia physicians and includes clinical, organisational and team stress factors. Results showed that the SQA is a robust and reliable instrument.

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