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J Occup Health Psychol. 2012 Apr;17(2):175-83. doi: 10.1037/a0027518.

Insufficient sleep predicts clinical burnout.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The present prospective study aimed to identify risk factors for subsequent clinical burnout. Three hundred eighty-eight working individuals completed a baseline questionnaire regarding work stress, sleep, mood, health, and so forth. During a 2-year period, 15 subjects (7 women and 8 men) of the total sample were identified as "burnout cases," as they were assessed and referred to treatment for clinical burnout. Questionnaire data from the baseline measurement were used as independent variables in a series of logistic regression analyses to predict clinical burnout. The results identified "too little sleep (< 6 h)" as the main risk factor for burnout development, with adjustment for "work demands," "thoughts of work during leisure time," and "sleep quality." The first two factors were significant predictors in earlier steps of the multivariate regression. The results indicate that insufficient sleep, preoccupation with thoughts of work during leisure time, and high work demands are risk factors for subsequent burnout. The results suggest a chain of causation.

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