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Performance anxiety -- prevalence amongst otolaryngologists
  • Rebecca Harrison,
  • Sian Dobbs,
  • Samit Ghosh
Rebecca Harrison
Fairfield General Hospital

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Sian Dobbs
Health Education England North West
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Samit Ghosh
Fairfield General Hospital
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Objectives To establish the prevalence of operating anxiety amongst otolaryngologists. Background Performance anxiety is a reaction to performing a task under pressure, and is linked to worse outcomes in professional sport. Awareness of the negative impact that performance anxiety can have on both surgical outcomes and the mental health of surgeons is increasing. The Royal College of Surgeons has recommended further evaluation of anxiety amongst surgeons so that we can greater understand its implications. Design The Sport Competition and Anxiety Test (SCAT) is a validated questionnaire used to assess anxiety in professional athletes. A modified version was distributed via the Association of Otolaryngologists in Training mailing list. Responses were accepted September-November 2019. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS. Participants Information was collected on the grade and sex of respondent. Main outcome measures Anxiety levels were calculated using SCAT guidelines. Results 106 questionnaires were returned 67M:38F (1 unspecified). 22 consultants, 72 registrars and 11 core trainees completed the questionnaire (1 unspecified). 6% of otolaryngologists were identified as having high levels of anxiety. Male trainees were less anxious than female trainees, mean score 15 vs 18 (range 10-27 vs 11-29, p<0.05). 6% of senior registrars and 9% of junior registrars had high anxiety compared to 0% consultants. Conclusion This data suggests high levels of performance anxiety exist amongst ENT surgeons. Interestingly, the highest anxiety levels were found in females and registrar level surgeons. With increasing levels of pressure and higher burn-out rates amongst surgeons, the need to understand the relationship between anxiety and surgical performance has never been so important.