Objective: To investigate the level of burnout and health status of male and female Dutch general practitioners (GPs), and to compare this with former samples of GPs and with the Dutch general population.
Methods: A postal survey of 350 male and 350 female practising GPs in the Netherlands.
Results: Although levels of emotional exhaustion of Dutch GPs were lower than those of national samples of GPs in the 1990s, the prevalence of burnout was still almost twice that of the general population. In contradiction with this, GPs reported better general health and fewer diseases than their fellow countrymen. Another remarkable finding was that female GPs were as healthy as their male colleagues, while in the general population, males report better health than females.
Conclusion: The positive self-reported health status of general practitioners might reflect the high standards of the medical profession, which make physicians reluctant to show their own vulnerability. This might result in fewer, but more serious cases of (mental) illness among GPs as compared to the general population.