Factors contributing to the development of burnout in oncology nursing

Br J Med Psychol. 1994 Jun;67 ( Pt 2):187-99. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8341.1994.tb01785.x.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether oncology nurses experience higher levels of burnout compared to nurses working in general hospitals, and to further identify the personal and environmental factors that contribute to the development of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and lack of personal accomplishment. Seven tools, measuring a selected set of demographic, psychological and occupational variables, were administered to 217 female nurses who worked in oncological hospitals and 226 nurses who worked in general hospitals in the area of Athens. Measures used in the study included the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Hardiness Scale, the Ways of Coping Scale, the Life Style Scale, the Type A Behaviour Scale, a Job Stress Questionnaire and a General Information Questionnaire. No statistically significant difference was revealed in the degree of burnout experienced by nurses in oncology and those in general hospitals. Multiple linear regression analysis suggested that personality characteristics seem to predict a greater percentage of the variability of the burnout experienced than occupational and demographic variables. A sense of personal control over the things that happen in life and in the work environment was found to protect nurses from emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and lack of personal accomplishment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Depersonalization / etiology
  • Depersonalization / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oncology Nursing*
  • Oncology Service, Hospital
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires