Nearly half of psychiatrists experience burnout according to a meta-analysis recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. Many factors, including lack of resources, lack of autonomy, and personality traits, contribute to their feelings of professional exhaustion.

To examine the prevalence of burnout among psychiatrists specifically, the researchers evaluated 36 studies involving 5481 participants from 19 countries. They divided results according to burnout symptoms assessed by the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI).

The results showed overall burnout prevalence was 25.9% [11.1% – 40.7%] as measured by MBI and 50.3% [30.9% – 69.8%] as measured by CBI. The pooled prevalence was 43.5% [27.9% – 59%] for high emotional exhaustion (EE), 28.2% [17.5% – 38.9%] for high depersonalization (DP), and 32.4% [3.4% – 61.3%] for low personal accomplishment (PA). The mean scores of the MBI subscales were 21.51 [18.64% – 24.38%] for EE, 6.57 [5.53% – 7.62%] for DP, and 31.83 [25.73% – 37.94%] for PA


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Discrepancies between health care systems, varying study objectives, and lack of consensus on burnout diagnostic methods — and even varying definitions of burnout itself — impacted study heterogeneity. The study authors also admit the analysis may have included data from residents or interns. “Relevant topics for future research should include a longitudinal evaluation of the sociodemographic and psychological factors as well as the level of workers’ experience,” the researchers stated. “Both may influence the development of burnout among psychiatrists.”

Later research should also focus on finding a consensus on burnout screening and psychiatrist burnout predictors. They also emphasize a need for “longitudinal evaluation of psychiatrists’ burnout predictors, conducting research on psychiatrists’ burnout in regions other than Europe, and the development of effective intervention strategies.”

Reference

Bykov KV, Zrazhevskaya IA, Topka EO, et al. Prevalence of burnout among psychiatrists: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord. Published online April 6, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2022.04.005