Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Mental health, job satisfaction, and job stress among general practitioners.

British Medical Journal 1989; 298 doi: (Published 11 February 1989) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1989;298:366
  1. C. L. Cooper,
  2. U. Rout,
  3. B. Faragher
  1. University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology.


    OBJECTIVE--To identify sources of job stress associated with high levels of job dissatisfaction and negative mental wellbeing among general practitioners in England. DESIGN--Multivariate analysis of large database of general practitioners compiled from results of confidential questionnaire survey. Data obtained on independent variables of job stress, demographic factors, and personality. Dependent variables were mental health, job satisfaction, alcohol consumption, and smoking. SETTING--National sample of general practitioners studied by university department of organisational psychology. SUBJECTS--One thousand eight hundred seventeen general practitioners selected at random by 20 family practitioner committees in England. INTERVENTIONS--None. END POINT--Determination of the combination of independent variables that were predictive of mental health and job satisfaction. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Women general practitioners both had job satisfaction and showed positive signs of mental wellbeing in contrast with other normative groups. Conversely, male doctors showed significantly higher anxiety scores than the norms, had less job satisfaction, and drank more alcohol than their women counterparts. Multivariate analysis disclosed four job stressors that were predictive of high levels of job dissatisfaction and lack of mental wellbeing; these were demands of the job and patients' expectations, interference with family life, constant interruptions at work and home, and practice administration. CONCLUSIONS--There may be substantial benefit in providing a counselling service for general practitioners and other health care workers who suffer psychological pressure from their work.