Date of this Version

July 2005

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

This article is published with the permission of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Access Australian Family Physician online. Permission to reproduce this article must obtained from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Copyright © 2005 Australian Family Physician. All rights reserved.


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.



This document has been peer reviewed.