New Medscape Report Finds Covid-19 Increasing Physician Burnout, Loneliness and Relationship Stress

  • Physicians in the U.S. and Brazil More Likely to Report Loss of Income
  • Fewer U.S. Physicians Report Getting Covid-19 Themselves


NEW YORK, Sept. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly two-thirds of U.S. physicians report intensifying levels of burnout and increased feelings of loneliness during the pandemic, according to the results of a new report from Medscape.

The report also found that physician relationships have been stressed, and the majority (62%) of U.S. physicians have seen up to a 50% reduction in income. Close to half (46%) of U.S. physicians said they were lonelier now due to social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.

The Medscape U.S. and International Physicians' Covid-19 Experience Report surveyed more than 7,400 physicians in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Portugal and Mexico on the impact of Covid-19 on their personal and professional lives.

Click here for the full report:

The report found that more than half of U.S. physicians (54%) had treated Covid-19 patients but were less likely to have contracted the disease compared with their colleagues elsewhere. About 20% of physicians in Spain and the U.K. reported the highest rates of becoming infected with Covid-19, while the U.S., at 5%, reported the lowest. Similarly, about 9% of U.S. physicians reported an immediate family member had contracted Covid-19, versus 25% in Brazil, 24% in Spain and 18% in the U.K.

Physicians in the U.S. and Brazil were more likely to report a loss in income, as compared with physicians in other countries. They also reported higher rates of loneliness, (46%) along with Portugal (51%) and Brazil (48%). About one in four U.S. physicians said the pandemic had increased stress on their personal relationships.

How Physicians Are Coping

Like many others, physicians and their global counterparts are eating more than they had been prior to the pandemic. Physicians in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil lead in eating more during stay-at-home (43%, 31% and 29% respectively); French and German physicians are the least likely to be eating more. Those in Brazil, the U.K., and the U.S. are more likely to say they are drinking more alcohol (26%, 20% and 19%, respectively) than physicians in other countries.

Fewer than half of all U.S. physicians (43%) said their workplace offered programs to help them cope with grief and stress, and rates were similarly low in the other countries, with the exception of the U.K., where 55% of physicians said they had access to such programs.

While more than half of U.S. physicians (51%) are not considering a career change in response to the pandemic, 25% have indicated they will retire earlier than planned.

"Physicians in every country we surveyed have been impacted in significant ways because of Covid-19," said Leslie Kane, MA, Senior Director, Medscape Business of Medicine. "Whether experiencing Covid-19 at a personal level, or watching a steep drop in their income, the stresses of practicing medicine during a pandemic are taking a toll. Most physicians report that little is offered to support them as they manage these areas of significant stress in their lives and careers; that gap provides an opportunity to develop programs that can help physicians manage these issues as they continue to deliver the care that both Covid and non-Covid patients need."

Other findings:

  • Physicians in Brazil, the U.S. and Mexico are more likely to believe there will be a Covid-19 vaccine available by the end of 2021.
  • About 38% of U.S. physicians will resume travel once a vaccine is available, and 34% say that they will only travel when the pandemic has passed.

Report Methodology

Medscape member physicians were invited to participate in an online survey in English. Respondents were required to be practicing physicians. 7,414 respondents met the screening criteria and completed the survey; U.S. respondents were weighted to the American Medical Association membership by gender, region, age, and specialty. United States (n=5,005), Brazil (n=400), France (n=152), Germany (n-273), Mexico (n=400), Portugal (n=382), Spain (n-400), United Kingdom (n-402). Recruitment period was June 9, 2020 through July 20, 2020.

About Medscape

Medscape is the leading source of clinical news, health information, and point-of-care tools for health care professionals. Medscape offers specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals the most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools. Medscape Education ( is the leading destination for continuous professional development, consisting of more than 30 specialty-focused destinations offering thousands of free C.M.E. and C.E. courses and other educational programs for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. Medscape is a subsidiary of WebMD Health Corp.

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SOURCE Medscape

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