Psychosocial work characteristics as predictors for burnout: findings from 3-year follow up of the PUMA Study

J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Oct;47(10):1015-25. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000175155.50789.98.


Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of psychosocial work characteristics on burnout.

Methods: A total of 1772 participants in different human service sector organizations were eligible for the cross-sectional analyses (baseline) and 952 for the prospective analyses. We measured 14 psychosocial work characteristics and three types of burnout. Linear regression models were used for analyzing associations between psychosocial work characteristics at baseline and burnout at baseline and at 3 years of follow up.

Results: Low possibilities for development, high meaning of work, low predictability, high quality of leadership, low role clarity, and high role conflicts predicted burnout at 3 years of follow up after the psychosocial work characteristics were adjusted for each other, potential confounders, and burnout level at baseline.

Conclusion: Psychosocial work characteristics were prospectively associated with burnout, suggesting that improving the psychosocial work environment may reduce future burnout in human service work.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Social Class