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Patient Educ Couns. 2010 Feb;78(2):184-90. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2009.04.008. Epub 2009 May 20.

Burnout prevention: a review of intervention programs.

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Hannover Medical School, Institute for Epidemiology, Social Medicine and Health System Research, Endowed Chair Prevention and Rehabilitation in Health System and Health Services Research, 30625 Hannover, Germany.



To evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs at the workplace or elsewhere aimed at preventing burnout, a leading cause of work related mental health impairment.


A systematic search of burnout intervention studies was conducted in the databases Medline, PsycINFO and PSYNDEX from 1995 to 2007. Data was also extracted from papers found through a hand search.


A total of 25 primary intervention studies were reviewed. Seventeen (68%) were person-directed interventions, 2 (8%) were organization-directed and 6 (24%) were a combination of both interventions types. Eighty percent of all programs led to a reduction in burnout. Person-directed interventions reduced burnout in the short term (6 months or less), while a combination of both person- and organization-directed interventions had longer lasting positive effects (12 months and over). In all cases, positive intervention effects diminished in the course of time.


Intervention programs against burnout are beneficial and can be enhanced with refresher courses. Better implemented programs including both person- and organization-directed measures should be offered and evaluated.


A combination of both intervention types should be further investigated, optimized and practiced. Institutions should recognize the need for and make burnout intervention programs available to employees.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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