The authors examined the effect of supervision on internal medicine residents’ attitudes toward and management of depression.
Internal medicine residents completed a survey during preclinical conferences. The survey included a published, validated questionnaire, the Depression Attitude Questionnaire, and items developed by the researchers.
Of residents in attendance on the day of survey administration, 94% (51/54) agreed to participate. The study sample contained 39% of the 139-member residency program. About half (49%) reported feeling uncomfortable managing depression. Perceived training adequacy was correlated with a greater feeling of ease managing depression. Most residents reported screening ≤20% of patients for depression, although 71% indicated they are more likely to screen if it were a priority for their supervisor. Fifty-eight percent indicated that supervisors’ attitudes affect their own attitudes. However, significant correlations between supervisor and resident attitudes were not observed.
The results of this pilot study suggest that supervision can encourage screening and promote resident preparedness to manage depression.