Nationwide survey of work environment, work-life balance and burnout among psychiatrists in Japan

PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e55189. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055189. Epub 2013 Feb 13.


Background: Psychiatry has been consistently shown to be a profession characterised by 'high-burnout'; however, no nationwide surveys on this topic have been conducted in Japan.

Aims: The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of burnout and to ascertain the relationship between work environment satisfaction, work-life balance satisfaction and burnout among psychiatrists working in medical schools in Japan.

Method: We mailed anonymous questionnaires to all 80 psychiatry departments in medical schools throughout Japan. Work-life satisfaction, work-environment satisfaction and social support assessments, as well as the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), were used.

Results: Sixty psychiatric departments (75.0%) responded, and 704 psychiatrists provided answers to the assessments and MBI. Half of the respondents (n = 311, 46.0%) experienced difficulty with their work-life balance. Based on the responses to the MBI, 21.0% of the respondents had a high level of emotional exhaustion, 12.0% had a high level of depersonalisation, and 72.0% had a low level of personal accomplishment. Receiving little support, experiencing difficulty with work-life balance, and having less work-environment satisfaction were significantly associated with higher emotional exhaustion. A higher number of nights worked per month was significantly associated with higher depersonalisation.

Conclusions: A low level of personal accomplishment was quite prevalent among Japanese psychiatrists compared with the results of previous studies. Poor work-life balance was related to burnout, and social support was noted to mitigate the impact of burnout.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychiatry*
  • Schools, Medical
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload / psychology*
  • Workplace / psychology*

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.