Motivations and Limitations of Pursuing a Career in Psychiatry: A Cross-Sectional Study from the United Arab Emirates

Syed Fahad Javaid, Fadwa Al Mugaddam, Hind Mohd Ahmed, Amani Alkharoossi, Leena Amiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. The global burden of mental disorders continues to grow with significant health, social, and economic consequences. Unfortunately, the gap between the need for mental healthcare and its provision remains wide all over the world. The recruitment and retention of psychiatrists is a long-standing concern in the United Arab Emirates, with social stigma playing a potential role. This study is aimed at investigating the factors that affect psychiatrists' choice of psychiatry as an area of practice in the United Arab Emirates. Methods. This cross-sectional study was undertaken using an anonymized 30-item online questionnaire. Ethical approval was obtained from the United Arab Emirates University Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee prior to participant recruitment. We recruited qualified psychiatrists currently working in the United Arab Emirates. The structured questionnaire assessed the participants' sociodemographic factors and reasons for choosing psychiatry. Statistical analysis, including Pearson correlations and chi-square tests, was performed using the statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) version 26. Results. We found that the doctors trained in the United Arab Emirates were statistically more likely to face opposition to specializing in psychiatry (p value < 0.001). Participants with a family member or friend as a psychiatrist were more likely to choose psychiatry as a first-choice specialty (p value 0.01). Psychiatrists below the age of 35 were more statistically likely to face opposition to their decision to specialize in psychiatry (p value 0.006). Psychiatrists who regretted their decision to specialize in psychiatry were statistically more likely to feel this way in their first year of residency (p value < 0.001). Conclusions. Multiple sociodemographic factors influence responses to the decision to specialize in psychiatry in the United Arab Emirates. Younger people and people who studied in or were a citizen of the United Arab Emirates were more likely to face opposition to their decision to specialize in psychiatry, indicating why there are such high rates of psychiatrists from overseas in the United Arab Emirates and shortages in the profession.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9626526
JournalMental Illness
Volume2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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