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World Psychiatry. 2007 Oct;6(3):186-9.

Burnout in psychiatrists.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Waikato Clinical School, Private Bag 3200, Hamilton, New Zealand.


Psychiatrists as a group are vulnerable to experiencing burnout, more so than other physicians and surgeons. In this paper, various definitions of burnout are reviewed and the tools available for quantifying burnout are compared. The factors that make psychiatry a stressful profession are also examined. These include factors such as patient violence and suicide, limited resources, crowded inpatient wards, changing culture in mental health services, high work demands, poorly defined roles of consultants, responsibility without authority, inability to effect systemic change, conflict between responsibility toward employers vs. toward the patient, and isolation. In order to investigate how exposure to such stressors results in burnout, two theoretical models are examined. Recommendations are also made, on the basis of anecdotal reports, for addressing burnout in psychiatrists.


Burnout; psychiatrists; stress management; workforce

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