Burnout, hopelessness and suicide risk in medical doctors

Clin Ter. 2010;161(6):511-4.


Objectives: The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between burnout and hopelessness in medical doctors.

Materials and methods: We conducted an investigation of 133 medical doctors working either in a hospital setting or in general practice to explore the relationship between the level of burnout and hopelessness, a psychometric marker for suicide risk. The participants were administered the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OBI) and Beck's Hopelessness Scale (BHS).

Results: Burnout is an important issue in mediating the level of hopelessness. Doctors with high hopelessness had higher scores on the disengagement factor (2.61±0.47 vs 2.14±0.41; t131=-4.37; p<0.001; Cohen D=1.07), and on the exhaustion factor (2.68±0.65 vs 2.19±0.54; t131=-3.39; p<0.001; Cohen D=0.82) than doctors with low hopelessness. A multivariate regression analysis confirmed that disengagement and exhaustion are significant predictors of the BHS scores.

Conclusions: People in charge of workers' health should pay particular attention to the level of burnout in doctors, intervene with changes in the work environment and evaluate the impact of such procedures.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • General Practitioners / psychology
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Suicide / psychology*