Physician mental health and substance abuse. What are state medical licensure applications asking?

Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio, USA.
Archives of Family Medicine 01/1999; 8(5):448-51. DOI: 10.1001/archfami.8.5.448
Source: PubMed


To summarize and characterize the questions on initial applications for medical licensure (nonosteopathic) as they relate to applicants' mental health and substance abuse.
Collection and analysis of applications for initial medical licensure (nonosteopathic) from 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Nonosteopathic medical licensure applications of 47 states and the District of Columbia (N = 48).
Number of questions per application relating to mental health problems and substance abuse, in addition to time qualifiers (e.g., current difficulty, specified number of years in the past, ever) and impairment qualifiers (e.g., functional impairment, treatment, hospitalization) per question or set of questions for each area.
Of 48 applications analyzed, 41 (85%) inquired about mental health problems and 43 (90%) inquired about substance abuse. Most explored periods between the past 10 years and the present; functional impairment was the most common inquiry.
Applications for nonosteopathic medical licensure most often inquire about physicians' recent history of mental health and substance abuse problems as well as related functional impairment. Variation of items across state applications may have important implications for some physician applicants.

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