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Burnout and health behaviors in health professionals from seven European countries

Authors:
  • Institute for Population and Human Studies - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
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Abstract

Objectives Within an underlying health-impairing process, work stressors exhaust employees’ mental and physical resources and lead to exhaustion/burnout and to health problems, with health-impairing behaviors being one of the potential mechanisms, linking burnout to ill health. The study aims to explore the associations between burnout and fast food consumption, exercise, alcohol consumption and painkiller use in a multinational sample of 2623 doctors, nurses and residents from Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia, adopting a cross-national approach. Methods Data are part of the international cross-sectional quantitative ORCAB survey. The measures included the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Health Behaviors Questionnaire. Results Burnout was significantly positively associated with higher fast food consumption, infrequent exercise, higher alcohol consumption and more frequent painkiller use in the full sample, and these associations remained significant after the inclusion of individual differences factors and country of residence. Cross-national comparisons showed significant differences in burnout and health behaviors, and some differences in the statistical significance and magnitude (but not the direction) of the associations between them. Health professionals from Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria reported the most unfavorable experiences. Conclusions Burnout and risk health behaviors among health professionals are important both in the context of health professionals’ health and well-being and as factors contributing to medical errors and inadequate patient safety. Organizational interventions should incorporate early identification of such behaviors together with programs promoting health and aimed at the reduction of burnout and work-related stress.
1 3
Int Arch Occup Environ Health (2016) 89:1059–1075
DOI 10.1007/s00420-016-1143-5
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Burnout and health behaviors in health professionals from seven
European countries
Anna Alexandrova‑Karamanova1,2 · Irina Todorova1 · Anthony Montgomery3 ·
Efharis Panagopoulou4 · Patricia Costa5 · Adriana Baban6 · Asli Davas7 ·
Milan Milosevic8 · Dragan Mijakoski9
Received: 12 November 2015 / Accepted: 18 May 2016 / Published online: 1 June 2016
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016
use in the full sample, and these associations remained
significant after the inclusion of individual differences fac-
tors and country of residence. Cross-national comparisons
showed significant differences in burnout and health behav-
iors, and some differences in the statistical significance
and magnitude (but not the direction) of the associations
between them. Health professionals from Turkey, Greece
and Bulgaria reported the most unfavorable experiences.
Conclusions Burnout and risk health behaviors among
health professionals are important both in the context of
health professionals’ health and well-being and as fac-
tors contributing to medical errors and inadequate patient
safety. Organizational interventions should incorporate
early identification of such behaviors together with pro-
grams promoting health and aimed at the reduction of burn-
out and work-related stress.
Keywords Burnout · Health behaviors · Health
professionals · Cross-national
Abstract
Objectives Within an underlying health-impairing pro-
cess, work stressors exhaust employees’ mental and physi-
cal resources and lead to exhaustion/burnout and to health
problems, with health-impairing behaviors being one of
the potential mechanisms, linking burnout to ill health.
The study aims to explore the associations between burn-
out and fast food consumption, exercise, alcohol consump-
tion and painkiller use in a multinational sample of 2623
doctors, nurses and residents from Greece, Portugal, Bul-
garia, Romania, Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia, adopting a
cross-national approach.
Methods Data are part of the international cross-sectional
quantitative ORCAB survey. The measures included the
Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Health Behaviors
Questionnaire.
Results Burnout was significantly positively associated
with higher fast food consumption, infrequent exercise,
higher alcohol consumption and more frequent painkiller
* Anna Alexandrova-Karamanova
annaalexandrova@yahoo.com
1 Health Psychology Research Center, PO Box 238,
1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
2 Department of Psychology, Institute for Population
and Human Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad.
G. Bonchev Street, bl. 6, fl. 5/6, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
3 Department of Education and Social Policy, University
of Macedonia, 156 Egnatia Street, 540 06 Thessaloniki,
Greece
4 Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
5 Business Research Unit - Instituto Universitário de
Lisboa, Av. das Forças Armadas, Edificio ISCTE-IUL,
1649-026 Lisbon, Portugal
6 Department of Psychology, Babes Bolyai University, 37
Republicii Street, 400015 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
7 Department of Public Health, Ege University, Halk Sagligi
AD, 35100 Bornova, Izmir, Turkey
8 School of Medicine, Andrija Stampar School of Public
Health, University of Zagreb, Rockefellerova 4,
10000 Zagreb, Croatia
9 Institute of Occupational Health of RM, WHO Collaborating
Center, II Makedonska Brigada 43, Skopje, Republic
of Macedonia
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... 51 The identified studies using these measures identify a relationship between burnout and poor physical health outcomes. 29,31,37,40,44,46,47,[52][53][54] Some specific physical outcomes reported were somatization, 31 poor quality of sleep, 31 tiredness, 53 feeling tired or exhausted, 52 short of breath, 52 trembling muscles, 52 and prickling sensations. 52 Some research focused on more specific aspects of physical health. ...
... 52 Some research focused on more specific aspects of physical health. In this review, research was found on salivary cortisol, 29 influenza vaccine efficacy, 44 risky health behaviors, 54 and time off for sick leave. 47 Fernandez-Sanchez and colleagues 29 examined salivary cortisol levels in health care workers (mostly nurses). ...
... P < .001). 54 These risky health behaviors have negative consequences for the health of the individual nurse. Other studies have also found that engaging in these behaviors can lead to medical errors, inadequate patient safety, and health promotion directed toward patients. ...
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