Burnout in Pediatric Residents: Comparing Brief Screening Questions to the Maslach Burnout Inventory

Acad Pediatr. 2019 Apr;19(3):251-255. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2018.11.003. Epub 2018 Nov 3.


Background: Measuring burnout symptoms is important, but the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) has 22 items. This project compared 3 single-item measures with the MBI and other factors related to burnout.

Methods: Data were analyzed from the 2016 and 2017 Pediatric Resident Burnout-Resilience Study Consortium surveys, which included standard measures of perceived stress, mindfulness, resilience, and self-compassion; the MBI; and the 1- and 2-item screening questions.

Results: In 2016 and 2017, data were collected from 1785/2723 (65%) and 2148/3273 (66%) eligible pediatric residents, respectively. Burnout rates on the MBI were 56% in 2016 and 54% in 2017. The Physician Work Life Study item generated estimates of burnout prevalence of 43% to 49% and, compared with the MBI for 2016 and 2017, had sensitivities of 69% to 72%, specificities of 79% to 82%, positive likelihood ratios of 3.4 to 3.8, and negative likelihood ratios of 0.35 to 0.38. The combination of an emotional exhaustion item and a depersonalization item generated burnout estimates of 53% in both years and, compared with the full MBI, had sensitivities of 85% to 87%, specificities of 84% to 85%, positive likelihood ratios of 5.7 to 6.4, and negative likelihood ratios of 0.18 for both years. Both items were significantly correlated with their parent subscales. The single items were significantly correlated with stress, mindfulness, resilience, and self-compassion.

Conclusions: The 1- and 2-item screens generated prevalence estimates similar to the MBI and were correlated with variables associated with burnout. The 1- and 2-item screens may be useful for pediatric residency training programs tracking burnout symptoms and response to interventions.

Keywords: burnout; education; pediatric; resident; resilience; screening.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional / diagnosis*
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Pediatricians / psychology*
  • Pediatricians / statistics & numerical data
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Prevalence
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires