HealthDay News — Burnout is a growing problem among American doctors, according to research published in the December issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Analyzing the results of 2011 and 2014 surveys of 6,880 doctors across the United States, researchers found that the number who met the criteria for burnout rose from 45 to 54% over that time.

Burnout rates rose in nearly all specialties, but the highest rates of burnout were among those in general internal medicine, family medicine, and emergency medicine. There was no increase in work hours or in rates of depression among doctors. Physicians’ satisfaction with work-life balance fell between the two surveys.

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Psychiatrists accounted for 8.3% of respondents among specialists. Overall, 6.4% of clinicians who responded said they had suicidal ideation in the past year and nearly 40% and screened positive for depression.

“Burnout manifests as emotional exhaustion, loss of meaning in work, and feelings of ineffectiveness,” study author Tait Shanafelt, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a clinic news release. “What we found is that more physicians in almost every specialty are feeling this way, and that’s not good for them, their families, the medical profession, or patients.”


Shanafelt TD, et al. Changes in Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Balance in Physicians and the General US Working Population Between 2011 and 2014. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015; 90(12):1600-613.