The experiences of general practitioner partners living with distress: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Johanna Spiers
  • Marta Buszewicz
  • Carolyn Anne Chew-Graham
  • Ruth Riley

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Bristol
  • University College London
  • Keele University


Doctors, including general practitioners, experience higher levels of mental illness than the general population. General practitioners who are partners in their practices may face heightened stress. In total, 10 general practitioner partners living with work-related distress were interviewed, and transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three major themes arose: (1) extreme distress, (2) conflicted doctor identity and (3) toxic versus supportive workplace relationships. Participants detailed symptoms of depression, anxiety and burnout; reported conflicted identities; and discussed the impact of bullying partnerships. We recommend that organisational interventions tackling issues such as bullying be implemented and opportunities to debrief be offered as protected time activities to general practitioner partners.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2018


  • anxiety , depression , distress , interpretative phenomenological analysis , mental illness , primary care