Familial clustering in burnout: A twin-family study

Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Psychological Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.94). 02/2005; 35(1):113-20. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291704002983
Source: PubMed


Research on risk factors for burnout has mainly focused on circumstances at work and on personal characteristics. The aim of this study was to investigate whether burnout clusters within families and, if so, whether this is due to genetic influences or to environmental factors shared by family members. Finally, we tried to identify specific risk factors for burnout.
In 2707 twins, 736 of their siblings and 575 of their spouses from a population-based twin-family sample, burnout was measured using a self-report questionnaire. Correlations in burnout scores were obtained for monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs and sibling pairs conditional on the pairs' sex. Correlations for twins and their spouses were derived conditional on the length of the relationship.
In the final model, correlations of the monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs and sibling pairs were significantly different from zero, but not significantly different from each other. The correlation was estimated at 0.22. The correlation between spouses was also significant. This was mainly due to the group with a relationship longer than 5 years in which the correlation was 0.24. Burnout scores were higher in subjects whose parents had a high level of education.
There is familial clustering for burnout due to environmental factors shared by family members, explaining 22 % of the variance. Genetic factors do not seem to be of importance. The significant correlation between spouses supports the conclusion that common environment plays a role in burnout. A high parental education is one of the familial risk factors.

Download full-text


Available from: Janine Stubbe, Jan 09, 2015
23 Reads
  • Source
    • "Considering previous literature, the finding that burnout is influenced by genetic factors seems to be contradictory to the results of the univariate twin-family analysis of burnout (Middeldorp et al., 2005), which suggested that familial clustering in burnout was entirely due to common environmental factors explaining 22% of the variance (Middeldorp et al., 2005). These differences can be partly explained by the increase of power in bivariate analyses compared to univariate analyses (Schmitz et al., 1998). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Earlier studies have shown that employment and burnout are related to anxiety and depression. This twin-family study investigates to what extent these associations are caused by shared etiological factors. In a sample of 4,309 Dutch twins and 1,008 siblings, bivariate genetic analyses of employment and anxious depression and of burnout and anxious depression were carried out using structural equation modelling. Employment and anxious depression were both influenced by genetic and individual-specific environmental factors. The association between employment and anxious depression was small, but significant, estimated at -0.08. Power was too low to decide whether the covariance was explained by genetic or environmental factors. In burnout, familial clustering was due to genetic factors in men, but to genetic and common environmental factors in women. In both sexes, there was a strong correlation of around 0.40 with anxious depression, which was explained by shared genetic and shared individual-specific environmental factors. The group of unemployed subjects in our sample not only contained subjects who were searching for a job, but also subjects who were out of the labour force. Associations between employment and anxious depression as well as between burnout and anxious depression are due to overlapping genetic and individual-specific environmental factors. Work related circumstances, e.g. financial strain or work-family conflict, might be of importance in burnout and anxious depression. These results support the notion that a genetic vulnerability for depression also increases the risk for exposure to high-risk environments, such as unemployment.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 03/2006; 90(2-3):163-9. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2005.11.004 · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Christina Maslach y Susan E. Jackson en 1981 definieron el burnout como “un síndrome de cansancio emocional, despersonalización y baja realización personal, que puede ocurrir entre individuos que trabajan con personas”. Elaboraron un instrumento de medida, el Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI): cuestionario autoadministrado constituido por 22 ítems referentes a sentimientos personales y actitudes del profesional hacia las personas a las que ofrece su servicio y hacia su trabajo. El objetivo principal de este trabajo es conocer la prevalencia del síndrome de burnout y de sus tres dimensiones (cansancio emocional, despersonalización y falta de realización personal) en personal sanitario militar, médicos y enfermeros, destinados en Unidades, Centros y Organismos de la Comunidad de Madrid. Se ha diseñado un estudio transversal. Los datos se han recogido mediante dos cuestionarios: el MBI en su versión validada en castellano, y un cuestionario general donde se recogen variables sociodemográficas y laborales. Se ha realizado un estudio estadístico descriptivo y analítico.El 76% son hombres, con una edad media de 43,30 años (DS 9,79). Un 59% de los sanitarios militares tiene niveles altos de burnout, y un 23% niveles medios de este síndrome. Aparecen niveles altos de cansancio emocional en un 39% de los profesionales, y de despersonalización y falta de realización personal en un 35%, respectivamente. El perfil del sanitario militar con burnout es un profesional menor de 35 años, enfermero, destinado en Unidades, Centros u Organismos del Ejército de Tierra, Aire o Armada y con menos de 5 años de antigüedad en su destino actual. Aparecen como factores de protección tener un trabajo extrahospitalario, atender entre 10 y 20 enfermos/día y tener menos de 15 años de antigüedad en la profesión.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Four papers on burnout appear in this issue of Work & Stress. This commentary gives an indication of how they add to the pool of knowledge regarding the prevalence of burnout and its chronic nature. A lapse common to most papers on this subject is then discussed: the lack of attention to burnout's relationships with other negative affective states, primarily depression. Finally, some of the major similarities and differences among various measures of burnout represented in this special edition are discussed. The concluding comment addresses future theoretical challenges to burnout researchers.
    Work and Stress 07/2005; 19(3):263-270. · 3.00 Impact Factor
Show more