Psychological distress among GPs: Who is at risk and how best to reach them?

Jackie Holt*, Chris Del Mar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To identify key characteristics of psychologically distressed general practitioners and whether these GPs volunteered for a 'GP health' educational program. Setting: Eight Australian divisions of general practice responding to an invitation to participate in the research in 1999, representing 1356 GPs. Main outcome measure: The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), together with demographic and practice questions. Design: Observational study of GPs invited to participate in a voluntary education program on GP health offered through each division of general practice. Participants: 819/1356 GPs responded to the baseline questionnaire (60%). Of these, 233/819 (28%) scored above the GHQ-12 threshold indicating psychological distress. Ninety GPs enrolled in the program, data were available for 69 GPs. Results: General practitioners who were identified as being psychologically distressed were over-represented in the 35-49 years age group (p=0.02) and were more likely to be the practice principal (p=0.04). Over 62% of enrolled GPs had scores that indicated none to mild distress. Of those GPs who were distressed, 42% were from the identified at risk age group, and 44% were practice principals. Discussion: Alternative targeted interventions may be needed to reach GPs with high levels of psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-602
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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