Burnout, staff support, and coping in Pediatric Oncology

Support Care Cancer. 2008 Feb;16(2):143-50. doi: 10.1007/s00520-007-0297-9. Epub 2007 Jul 10.


Goals of work: The goals of the study were the following: (1) to study the rate of burnout of the staff in Pediatric Oncology and compare it with that of a group of staff in other pediatric specialties, (2) to find out if job satisfaction, role clarity, staff support, and ways of coping are related to the burnout of these two groups, and (3) as a secondary aim, to identify other parameters, i.e., profession, experience, having children, etc., which might affect burnout, staff support, and ways of coping.

Materials and methods: The study group (n = 58) consisted of the staff of two Pediatric Oncology units and a Bone Marrow Transplantation unit, and the control group (n = 55) consisted of the staff of two Pediatric departments and one Pediatric Orthopedics department. The Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Staff Support Questionnaire, the Shortened Ways of Coping Questionnaire-Revised, and the Social Readjustment Scale were used.

Main results: No differences were found in burnout between Pediatric Oncology staff and that of other specialties, the existing staff support, and the ways of coping. Decreased role clarity and wishful thinking, as a way of coping, were positively correlated to emotional exhaustion, whereas a negative correlation of the lack of role clarity existed with personal accomplishment. Not having children and less experience increased burnout in both groups studied.

Conclusions: The hospital management and the heads of departments should be knowledgeable of ways to prevent burnout in their staff. Strategies targeting role clarity and wishful thinking are useful toward this goal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health
  • Pediatrics*
  • Social Support*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires