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Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2008 Nov;17(6):524-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2354.2008.00927.x. Epub 2008 Sep 1.

Burnout in cancer professionals: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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ABC Foundation School of Medicine, Santo Andre, SP, Brazil.


Burnout syndrome is typified by three dimensions: emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP) and low personal accomplishment (PS), and is prevalent among cancer care providers. The objective is to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that evaluated the presence of burnout syndrome in professionals dedicated to the care of cancer patients. A search was conducted of the MEDLINE, LILACS and COCHRANE databases. Articles were selected that had used the Maslach questionnaire to assess burnout syndrome prevalence, had evaluated at least 35 subjects (including physicians), had at least a 20% questionnaire response rate, and that were published in English, Spanish or Portuguese. Ten studies (2375 participants) were included in this analysis. Severe involvement by any one of the three dimensions ranged from 8% to 51%. The overall prevalence of EE was found to be 36% [95% confidence interval (CI) (31-41)], while for DP this was 34% [95% CI (30-39)] and for PS 25% [95% CI (0.16-34)], demonstrating considerable heterogeneity across studies. The prevalence of burnout syndrome is elevated among cancer professionals throughout the world but varies substantially among studies. Further research is needed to better understand and prevent this syndrome.

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