Changes in Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Integration in Physicians and the General US Working Population Between 2011 and 2020

Mayo Clin Proc. 2022 Mar;97(3):491-506. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2021.11.021.


Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of burnout and satisfaction with work-life integration (WLI) among physicians and US workers in 2020 relative to 2011, 2014, and 2017.

Methods: Between November 20, 2020, and March 23, 2021, we surveyed US physicians and a probability-based sample of the US working population using methods similar to our prior studies. Burnout and WLI were measured using standard tools. Information about specific work-related COVID-19 experiences was collected.

Results: There were 7510 physicians who participated in the survey. Nonresponder analysis suggested that participants were representative of US physicians. Mean emotional exhaustion and depersonalization scores were lower in 2020 than in 2017, 2014, and 2011 (all P<.001). However, emotional exhaustion and depersonalization scores did not improve in specialties most heavily affected by COVID-19. Overall, 38.2% of physicians reported 1 or more symptoms of burnout in 2020 compared with 43.9% in 2017, 54.4% in 2014, and 45.5% in 2011 (all P<.001). Providing care without adequate personal protective equipment (odds ratio [OR], 1.53; 95% CI, 1.35 to 1.72) and having suffered disruptive economic consequences due to COVID-19 (OR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.32 to 1.69) were independently associated with risk of burnout. On multivariable analysis, physicians were at increased risk for burnout (OR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.25 to 1.58) and were less likely to be satisfied with WLI (OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.79) than other working US adults.

Conclusion: Burnout and satisfaction with WLI among US physicians improved between 2017 and 2020. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physicians varies on the basis of professional characteristics and experiences. Physicians remain at increased risk for burnout relative to workers in other fields.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Work-Life Balance*