Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 480–487 | Cite as

Characteristics Associated with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts Among Medical Residents: Results from the DEPRESS-Ohio Study

  • Alan B. LevyEmail author
  • Ramzi W. Nahhas
  • Suzanne Sampang
  • Karen Jacobs
  • Christina Weston
  • Cathleen Cerny-Suelzer
  • Amy Riese
  • Mark R. Munetz
  • Janet Shaw
Empirical Report



This study describes the characteristics that are associated with depression in residents and also examines resident perception of available mental health support.


Residents and their program directors from each of 10 specialties across all academic training institutions in Ohio were electronically surveyed over a 2-month period. Generalized logistic regression was used to test for association between risk factors and depression and, among depressed residents, with suicidal thoughts.


Using the PHQ-9, 19% of residents met criteria for at least moderate depression and 31.1% of depressed residents had suicidal thoughts. Over 70% of depressed residents were not receiving treatment, including 70% of depressed residents with suicidal thoughts. Residents who were unaware of wellness programming or did not believe their program director would be supportive of a depressed resident were significantly more likely to be depressed. Residents who believed depression treatment would negatively impact medical licensure were significantly more likely to be depressed. Male program directors and those in their position for fewer than 5 years were significantly more likely to have depressed residents in their program.


A substantial proportion of depressed residents have suicidal thoughts, and most are not receiving treatment. Depressed residents may perceive the availability of support from their program director differently than their non-depressed colleagues, and may perceive greater risk to medical licensure if they seek treatment.


Depression Residents Treatment Licensure Wellness 



The authors wish to acknowledge contributions by the following participants in the DEPRESS-Ohio Study Group:

Julie Niedermier

Ryan Mast

Richard Ulrich

Marijo Tamburrino

Rusheeth Thummalapally

Ronne Proch

Erin Dean

Lindsay O’Brien

Melissa Wagner Schuman

Sophianne Morgan

Christine Collins

Funding Information

Funding was provided by the Columbus Medical Association Foundation and the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This study was conducted after acquiring IRB approval at all seven academic training institutions. Surveys were completed after each participant acknowledged informed consent.


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Wright State UniversityDaytonUSA
  3. 3.University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Cleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA
  5. 5.Case Western ReserveClevelandUSA
  6. 6.University of ToledoToledoUSA
  7. 7.Northeast Ohio Medical University College of MedicineRootstownUSA
  8. 8.Ohio Psychiatric Physicians AssociationColumbusUSA

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