Original Article

Dermatology Residency Applicant Self-Reported Stressors and Coping Mechanisms by Sex, Race, and Geographic Region during the 2020–2021 Application Cycle

Authors: Leila M. Tolaymat, MD, Ashley L. Walker, MD, Mingyuan Yin, MPH, Mindy Gillis, MEd, Claire Haga, MD, Michael Heckman, MS, Nancy Dawson, MD, Mary S. Hedges, MD


Objectives: Our aim was to identify self-reported stressors and coping mechanisms during the 2020–2021 application cycle by dermatology residency applicants. We hypothesized that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) would be the most reported stressor.

Methods: During the 2020–2021 application season, the Mayo Clinic Florida Dermatology residency program sent a supplemental application to each applicant requesting that they describe a challenging life situation and how they handled it. Comparisons of self-reported stressors and self-expressed coping mechanisms according to sex, race, and geographic region were performed.

Results: The most common stressors reported were academic (18.4%), family crisis (17.7%), and COVID-19 (10.5%). The most frequent coping mechanisms expressed were perseverance (22.3%), seeking community (13.7%), and resilience (11.5%). The coping mechanism of diligence was observed more often in females than in males (2.8% vs 0.0%, P = 0.045). First in medicine was more often observed in Black or African American students (12.5% vs 0%, P = 0.001), immigrant experience was more often observed in Black or African American and Hispanic students (16.7% and 11.8% vs 3.1%, P = 0.021), and natural disaster was reported more often in Hispanic students (26.5% vs 0.5%, P < 0.001) as compared with White applicants. By geography, applicants in the northeastern United States were more likely to report the COVID-19 pandemic as a stressor (19.5%, P = 0.049), and the natural disaster stressor was more often reported by applicants from outside the continental United States (45.5%, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Stressors reported by dermatology applicants in the 2020–2021 cycle included academic, family crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The type of stressor reported varied by race/ethnicity and geographic location of the applicant.
Posted in: Dermatology8 Infectious Disease111

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