A longitudinal examination of generic and occupational specific job demands, and work-related social support associated with burnout among nurses in Sweden

Work. 2011;38(4):389-400. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2011-1142.


Objective: Burnout is a familiar problem within nursing. This longitudinal study was designed to examine the roles that generic and occupational specific job demands (i.e. "pain and death", "patient and relative needs", "threats and violence", "professional worries"), and various work-related sources of support play in association with burnout in a sample of registered nurses in Sweden.

Methods and participants: A questionnaire was completed on two different occasions, by the same group of nurses from three hospitals and two primary health care centers. Nurses with initial low and moderate scores on emotional exhaustion (n=585) and depersonalization (n=631) were included in the logistic regression analyses. Initial scores, as well as four categories examining change over time in the predictors (unchanged low, improved, impaired, unchanged high), were associated with burnout approximately one year later.

Results: In the multivariate analyses, quantitative job demands and professional worries were associated with emotional exhaustion. Poor co-worker support was associated with depersonalization over time.

Conclusion: This study suggests an association between generic as well as occupational specific job demands and emotional exhaustion. Furthermore, an association between poor co-worker support and depersonalization was suggested. Implications of these findings and recommended directions for future research are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Depersonalization
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Young Adult