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Biol Psychol. 2005 Jul;69(3):271-9.

Impaired cognitive performance in patients with chronic burnout syndrome.

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Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, University Hospital, SE-90185 Umea, Sweden.


Chronic burnout refers to a syndrome caused by chronic stress. Clinical observations indicate that chronic burnout is associated with impaired cognitive functioning. However, there have been no systematic studies of the cognitive performance in chronic burnout patients. We have evaluated general cognitive ability, memory, and attention in 67 female patients treated for chronic burnout. The patients and 15 healthy control subjects were tested with standardized tests of verbal and nonverbal cognitive ability (WAIS), verbal (Claeson-Dahl) and nonverbal (Rey complex figures) memory, and visual and auditory attention (IVA). Significant reductions in nonverbal memory and auditory and visual attention were found for the patient group. These results indicate that patients with chronic burnout have specific cognitive impairments, which should be emphasized in the evaluation of symptoms and treatment regimes in this disorder.

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