Menon NK, Shanafelt TD, Sinsky CA, et al.
JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(12):e2028780.
Question Is burnout associated with increased suicidal ideation and self-reported medical errors among physicians after accounting for depression?
Findings In this cross-sectional study of 1354 US physicians, burnout was significantly associated with increased odds of suicidal ideation before but not after adjusting for depression and with increased odds of self-reported medical errors before and after adjusting for depression. In adjusted models, depression was significantly associated with increased odds of suicidal ideation but not self-reported medical errors.
Meaning The findings suggest that depression but not burnout is directly associated with suicidal ideation among physicians.
Conclusions and Relevance The results of this cross-sectional study suggest that depression but not physician burnout is directly associated with suicidal ideation. Burnout was associated with self-reported medical errors. Future investigation might examine whether burnout represents an upstream intervention target to prevent suicidal ideation by preventing depression.