Burnout among hospital staff during the COVID-19 pandemic: Longitudinal results from the international Cope-Corona survey study

J Psychosom Res. 2023 Jan:164:111102. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2022.111102. Epub 2022 Nov 21.


Objective: Long-term changes in burnout and its predictors in hospital staff during the COVID-19 pandemic were investigated in an international study.

Methods: Two online surveys were distributed to hospital staff in seven countries (Germany, Andorra, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Romania, Iran) between May and October 2020 (T1) and between February and April 2021 (T2), using the following variables: Burnout (emotional exhaustion and depersonalization), job function, age, gender, and contact with COVID-19 patients; individual resources (self-compassion, sense of coherence, social support) and work-related resources and demands (support at the workplace, risk perception, health and safety at the workplace, altruistic acceptance of risk). Data were analyzed using linear mixed models repeated measures, controlled for age.

Results: A total of 612 respondents were included (76% women). We found an increase in burnout from T1 to T2. Burnout was high among personnel with high contact with COVID-19 patients. Individual factors (self-compassion, sense of coherence) and work-related factors (support at the workplace, risk perception, health and safety at the workplace) showed associations with burnout. Low health and safety at the workplace at T1 was associated with an increase in emotional exhaustion at T2. Men showed an increase in depersonalization if they had much contact with COVID-19 patients.

Conclusion: Burnout represents a potential problematic consequence of occupational contact with COVID-19 patients. Special attention should be paid to this group in organizational health management. Self-compassion, sense of coherence, support at the workplace, risk perception, and health and safety at the workplace may be important starting points for interventions.

Registration: Müller, M. M. (2020, August 30). Cope-Corona: Identifying and strengthening personal resources of hospital staff to cope with the Corona pandemic. Open Science Foundation.

Keywords: Burnout; COVID-19; Hospital staff; Job demands resources model; Longitudinal survey.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional* / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional* / psychology
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Personnel, Hospital
  • Surveys and Questionnaires