Srpski arhiv za celokupno lekarstvo 2008 Volume 136, Issue 7-8, Pages: 397-405
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Health-related quality of life of general practitioners - family physicians in South-eastern Europe

Lapčević Mirjana, Gvozdenović Branislav S., Stanković Suzana

Introduction An insight into the health-related quality of life (HRQL) provides information on the extent of activities and everyday functioning restriction by deteriorated health. Objective The purpose of the paper was to analyze the HRQL of general practitioners-family physicians of the Southeastern Europe and compare it with HRQL of controls, the subjects of the same educational background, geographical area, sex and age, but different working activities. Method The study "Health-related quality of life of general practitioners-family physicians in the South-eastern Europe" (HERQUL study) was performed in Serbia, Republic of Srpska, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria during February- September 2004. Study instrument was a standardized generic questionnaire for the measurement of HRQL SF-36, which subject's health status assesses across eight different domains. Results The study included 1141 doctors (337 male and 804 female) and the same number of controls. The deteriorated physical health affected HRQL of controls, but more significantly of physicians. The deteriorated mental health affected HRQL of both physicians and controls regardless of age and sex. The lowest HRQL scores of physicians due to lowered vitality was reported in all studied countries, excluding subjects from Montenegro. Better social functioning HRQL domain was recorded in males regardless of profession. The deteriorated physical and mental health as well as social functioning mostly influenced HRQL of physicians aged 55-59, and in controls this applied to those older than 60, regardless of sex. Emotional health HRQL domain scores were better in the control group than in physicians, regardless of sex. Conclusion Studies of physicians' HRQL, particularly doctors of general practitioners-family physicians, are scarce. The results of the HERQUL study could be the impetus to obtain support for the improvement of HRQL of this important group of health professionals from the relevant government institutions.

Keywords: health-related quality of life, general practitioners - family physicians, South-eastern Europe

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