Comparison of burnout, anxiety and depressive syndromes in hospital psychiatrists and other physicians: Results from the ESTEM study

Psychiatry Res. 2020 Feb;284:112662. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2019.112662. Epub 2019 Oct 30.


Aims: To compare prevalence and risk factors for burnout, anxiety and depression among hospital psychiatrists and non-psychiatrists.

Method: Regional online survey of psychiatric and non-psychiatric hospital physicians was performed including: a job-stress scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI), a stressful work relationships list and a six items scale about work-related psychosocial risk factors (PRFs). The client-related burnout scale of the CBI has been changed to an interpersonal burnout scale. Cases were defined by a score of 8+ for the HADS-A/HADS-D and 50+ for the three CBI subscales.

Results: 285 psychiatrists and 326 non-psychiatrists participated. The prevalence of depression, personal burnout and work-related burnout did not differ between physicians. Anxiety was lower in psychiatrists and interpersonal burnout was higher in senior psychiatrists. Multivariate analysis showed two main PRFs, common to both groups of physicians: "work intensity and time" was associated with four of the five syndromes and "emotional demands" with the three burnout syndromes. Interpersonal burnout was associated with stressful relationships with leaders, but not with patients.

Conclusion: Reducing the workload, improving the management of emotions and increasing managerial skills are important approaches for prevention.

Keywords: Anxiety; Burnout; Depression; Physicians; Psychiatrists; Psychosocial risk factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / diagnosis
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Burnout, Professional / therapy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric* / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Stress / diagnosis
  • Occupational Stress / psychology*
  • Occupational Stress / therapy
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Physicians / trends
  • Psychiatry* / trends
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Workload / psychology