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J Psychosom Res. 2008 Apr;64(4):435-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2007.10.014.

Insomnia and sleep quality among primary care physicians with low and high burnout levels.

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Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain.



The aim of this study was to assess insomnia and sleep quality in primary care physicians with low and high burnout scores.


A representative sample of 240 physicians was drawn from 70 medical centers in Madrid, Spain. Based on quartile splits of the overall index of the Shirom-Melamed Burnout Questionnaire, 55 participants were allocated to a low-burnout group, and 58 were included in a high-burnout group. The questionnaire also included sociodemographic data, insomnia symptomatology, and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.


Of the total sample, 18.8% met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria for insomnia diagnoses. More individuals with high burnout scores (21.1%) than individuals with low burnout scores (6.9%) fulfilled these criteria. Results of multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that burnout was the only variable related to insomnia diagnoses (odds ratio=7.56; 95% confidence interval=2.38-14.02). Furthermore, the results of multivariate analysis of covariance, after adjustments for sociodemographic variables, indicated that subjects from the high-burnout group scored significantly higher than subjects from the low-burnout group on the global sleep quality index and its components, indicating significantly greater disturbed sleep for the former.


The results of the present study provide support for a clear relationship between burnout and disturbed sleep, as shown by the high prevalence of insomnia and poor sleep quality among physicians with high levels of burnout.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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