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Happiness and Defense Styles in Psychiatrists

Machado, Leonardo MD, MSc; Tavares, Hermano MD; Petribú, Kátia MD, PhD; Pinto, Tiago MD, MSc; Cantilino, Amaury MD, PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: March 2016 - Volume 204 - Issue 3 - p 181–187
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000450
Original Articles

The aim of this study was to measure happiness in a sample of Brazilian psychiatrists and correlate it with the defense styles used by them and sociodemographic data. This study was observational, cross-sectional, and analytical. Data were collected through self-administered questionnaires by Brazilian psychiatrists who participated in the XXXII Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry, 2014. In this sample of psychiatrists, happiness levels were high (scoring 5.69 of a total of 7), and mature defense styles prevailed, especially humor and anticipation. In a multivariate analysis, having children, good sleep quality, increased sexual interest, and use of defense styles such as humor, anticipation, and idealization all showed a positive relationship with happiness; on the other hand, using defense style such as acting out or annulment demonstrated a negative relationship with happiness. Despite the well-known professional burden that they bear, Brazilian psychiatrists surveyed presented, in general, high levels of subjective well-being and happiness.

*Postgraduate Program in Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), Cidade Universitária, Recife, Pernambuco; †Institute of Psychiatry, Hospital of the Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo (IPq-HCFMUSP), São Paulo, São Paulo; and ‡Postgraduate Program in Health Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Pernambuco (UPE), Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Send reprint requests to Leonardo Machado, MD, MSc, 280 Frei Matias Teves St, Room 114, Ilha do Leite, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, CEP 50070-970. E-mail:

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