Prevalence of resident burnout at the start of training

Teach Learn Med. 2010 Jul;22(3):172-5. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2010.488194.


Background: Job burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and feelings of decreased personal accomplishment, and it may be linked to depression and suboptimal patient care. Burnout among American internal medicine residents ranges between 55% and 76%.

Purpose: We aim to further characterize burnout prevalence at the start of residency.

Methods: Between 2006 and 2007, all incoming internal medicine interns at Mount Sinai Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital Center were asked to complete a survey at orientation. The survey included an instrument to measure burnout, a sleep deprivation screen, a personality inventory and demographic information. Comparison tests were conducted to identify statistically significant differences.

Results: The response rate was 94% (145/154). Overall burnout prevalence was 34% (50/145). Interns self-identifying as anxious (51% vs. 28%, p= .01) or disorganized (60% vs. 31%, p= .03) were more likely to have burnout.

Conclusions: Our study found higher levels of burnout among beginning medical interns than reported in the literature. Burnout correlated with some self-reported personality features.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Data Collection
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Personality Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*