Noise-induced stress as a predictor of burnout in critical care nurses

Heart Lung. 1988 Sep;17(5):567-74.


In this study we found that, for 100 critical care nurses, noise-induced occupational stress was positively related to burnout as measured by Jones's Staff Burnout Scale for Health Professionals (r = 0.369, p less than 0.001) and the emotional exhaustion subscale of Maslach's Burnout Inventory (r = 0.300, p less than 0.01). Hierarchical multiple regressions confirmed these results once variance in burnout linked with life stressors and other occupational stressors was accounted for. Furthermore, an interaction term, noise-induced stress X intrinsic sensitivity to noise in the person, did not account for significant variance in burnout once independent variance linked with noise-induced stress was identified. That is, nurses with intrinsic sensitivity to noise were no more at risk for burnout linked with noise-induced stress than were less sensitive nurses. This result is discussed as evidence that there are exceptionally high levels of noise in critical care units. The critical care unit noises that are most distressing to nurses are identified and discussed in terms of stress theory.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology*
  • Critical Care*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Noise, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Work Schedule Tolerance