Burnout among academic clinicians as it correlates with workload and demographic variables

Aussama K. Nassar, Susan Reid, Kamyar Kahnamoui, Faiz Tuma, Abdul Waheed, Meghan McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Burnout syndrome (BOS) in academic physicians is a psychological state resulting from prolonged exposure to job stressors. It leads to a decline in overall job performance, which could result in misjudgment and serious clinical errors. The current study identifies the prevalence, as well as the potential demographic and workload variables that contribute significantly to BOS in academic clinicians. We distributed a modified version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) scale to the academic clinicians in our institution; 326/900 responded, with 56.21% male and 43.46% female. The MBI scale comprised of three dimensions of burnout: emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP), and personal accomplishment (PA). Higher scores in EE and DP and lower scores in PA were associated with a higher risk for burnout. In considering the work-life of academic clinicians, this study used a modified version of the MBI to reflect three hypothesized sources of burnout: interactions with students/trainees, interactions with patients, and interactions with administration, as reflected in these three dimensions. Along both the EE and DP dimensions of the MBI, burnout was highest for interactions with administration (51% and 44.8%), moderate for interactions with patients (26.4% and 34.5%), and lowest for interactions with students (11.7% and 9.8%). The highest scores along the personal accomplishment component was found for interactions with students and patients (33.7% and 33.4%). Regression analyses identified several factors associated with higher scores on the EE and DP scales: younger age, surgical specialty, low academic rank, academic main practice, female gender, numerous night shifts, and living alone. Furthermore, higher patient volume contributed significantly to the increasing PA. This study suggests that administrative interaction contributes significantly to burnout amongst physicians, followed by patient care and trainees. Furthermore, surgeons, females, single, early career, and younger faculty staff members are at higher risk of suffering from burnout. Further studies are needed to characterize the nature of administrative interactions that contribute to burnout and to solidify other contributing variables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number94
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Burnout
  • Clinicians
  • Factor analysis
  • Maslach inventory
  • Regression analysis


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