Dr. Gildasio S. de Oliveira, Jr. and colleagues at Northwestern University in Chicago performed an Internet survey of U.S. anesthesiology residents nationwide.
Confidential responses from 1,508 residents were analyzed to assess the frequency of burnout and depression, and whether trainees at high risk of these conditions would report more medical errors.
The study, scheduled to be published in the July issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, found 41 percent of residents were considered at risk of burnout, based on high scores for emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and/or low scores for personal accomplishment.
In addition, 22 percent of residents had possible depression, based on a standard screening test, while 17 percent of trainees were at risk of both burnout and depression.
One-third of residents with high burnout and depression risk said they had made multiple medication errors in the last year, compared with less than 1 percent of lower-risk responders, the study said.
"In addition to effects on the health of anesthesiology trainees, burnout and depression may also affect patient care and safety," de Oliveira said in a statement.