Performance-based self-esteem and burnout in a cross-sectional study of medical students

Med Teach. 2007 Feb;29(1):43-8. doi: 10.1080/01421590601175309.


Objectives: To examine levels of burnout among medical students and test the hypothesis that high performance-based self-esteem is associated with burnout. Further to study associations between burnout and self-rated health.

Design: Cross-sectional survey, of medical students at 1st, 3rd and 6th year of medical school, N = 342, 59.1% women.

Measures: Burnout was monitored by the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI), comprising Exhaustion and Disengagement dimensions. Performance-based self-esteem (PBSE) was assessed by the PBSE-scale (PBSS) and self-rated health by SRH-5.

Results: The response rate was 90.4%. Females were more exhausted than males and sixth year students were most disengaged. High performance-based self-esteem was present in 41.7% of the respondents and poor health in 10.7%. Performance-based self-esteem had significant and moderate correlations with both burnout dimensions. Logistic regression showed a positive association between poor health and Exhaustion.

Conclusions: Exhaustion among medical students was significantly associated with poor health, and deserves attention from teachers. Performance-based self-esteem was higher than in other populations and associated with both burnout dimensions, but not with poor health. Further research on study environment and burnout is needed, and the reasons for female students' higher exhaustion levels should be further investigated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Workload