Young veterinarians suffer most from stress
Entitled "Psychological well-being of Australian veterinarians," the study used a self-reporting questionnaire that included queries about general health and demographics, psychological well-being, job-specific perceptions of health, dispositional characteristics and social support.
It used standard psychological scales to measure distress, anxiety and depression levels in the 2,125 veterinarians who responded, then compared the data between different veterinary subgroups and other professions.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Western Australia at Perth and Monash University in Melbourne, found that younger veterinarians were more likely to suffer psychological problems than those with more experience. Increasing age, increasing time in their current job, increasing years since graduation and male gender were factors associated with fewer signs of stress, anxiety and depression.
Compared with the general population, veterinarians experience more negative emotions at work, but were otherwise similar to other professional groups, the study found.
In their conclusion, researchers said professional veterinary bodies might want to consider providing training in dealing with work-related stress and depression.
The study was published in the March 2009 issue of Australian Veterinary Journal.