Assessing burnout among neonatologists

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2012 Oct;25(10):2130-4. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2012.666590. Epub 2012 May 10.


Objectives: To measure burnout in a cohort of neonatologists and to explore its association with several psychological and biographic factors.

Materials and methods: A total of 110 neonatologists filled in a personal questionnaire composed of four parts: (a) biographic data, (b) personal beliefs, (c) attitudes toward clinical decisions and (d) a validated tool (the Link Burnout Questionnaire [LBQ]) to assess their burnout. The LBQ categorizes burnout into four subscales: psycho-physical exhaustion, relationship deterioration, sense of professional failure and disillusion. Scores of each subscale range from 6 (minimum) to 36 (maximum). Burnout values were matched with the data of the personal questionnaire.

Results: Most neonatologists (60%-65%) were in the "at risk" range for burnout. High burnout was experienced by 30% of the neonatologists. Having no children is associated with low rates of burnout; work experience of less than 5 years, believing that living with a physical disability is unworthy and having recurrent death ideation are associated with high rates of burnout. The attitude to resuscitating a 24-week baby is inversely correlated with the disillusion rate.

Conclusion: In our cohort, burnout exceeds the alarm threshold in one-third of cases. Some of the risk factors we examined were correlated with burnout and should be considered in future prevention programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Burnout, Professional* / diagnosis
  • Burnout, Professional* / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional* / etiology
  • Burnout, Professional* / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neonatology*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires