DOI: 10.1002/jgf2.671 ISSN: 2189-7948

Association between mentorship and mental health among junior residents: A nationwide cross‐sectional study in Japan

Kohta Katayama, Yuji Nishizaki, Toshihiko Takada, Koshi Kataoka, Nathan Houchens, Takashi Watari, Yasuharu Tokuda, Yoshiyuki Ohira
  • Family Practice
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Internal Medicine



Mentorship is a dynamic, reciprocal relationship in which an advanced careerist (mentor) encourages the growth of a novice (mentee). Mentorship may protect the mental health of residents at risk for depression and burnout, yet despite its frequent use and known benefits, limited reports exist regarding the prevalence and mental effects of mentorship on residents in Japan.


We conducted a cross‐sectional study involving postgraduate year 1 and 2 (PGY‐1 and PGY‐2) residents in Japan who took the General Medicine In‐Training Examination (GM‐ITE) at the end of the 2021 academic year. Data on mentorship were collected using surveys administered immediately following GM‐ITE completion. The primary outcome was the Patient Health Questionaire‐2 (PHQ‐2), which consisted depressed mood and loss of interest. A positive response for either item indicated PHQ‐2 positive. We examined associations between self‐reported mentorship and PHQ‐2 by multi‐level analysis.


Of 4929 residents, 3266 (66.3%) residents reported having at least one mentor. Compared to residents without any mentor, those with a mentor were associated with a lower likelihood of a positive PHQ‐2 response (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.75; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.65–0.86). Mentor characteristic significantly associated with negative PHQ‐2 response was a formal mentor (aOR; 0.68; 95% CI 0.55–0.84).


A mentor‐based support system was positively associated with residents' mental health. Further research is needed to determine the quality of mentorship during clinical residency in Japan.

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