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Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2014 Oct;15(8):e347-53. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000000218.

Prevalence of burnout in pediatric intensivists: an observational comparison with general pediatricians.

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1Department of Psyquiatry, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. 2Department of Pediatrics, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. 3Departments of Neurology and Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA. 4Department of Paediatrics, Cambridge University Hospital NHS Trust, Cambridge, UK.



To study the prevalence of burnout in general pediatricians and pediatric intensivists and to evaluate factors that may be associated with this syndrome.


Observational cohort study.


Pediatric departments of two hospitals in south Brazil.


Pediatric intensivists working in two regional PICUs and general pediatricians working in the outpatient departments in the same hospitals.


Two researchers, blinded to the workplace of the physicians, undertook the assessment of burnout using the Maslach Burnout Inventory scale. Burnout was defined as high score in the domains for "emotional exhaustion" or "depersonalization" or a low score in the "professional accomplishment" domain.


The PICU and general pediatrician groups were similar demographically, and each had 35 recruits. Burnout was present in 50% of the study recruits and was more frequent among pediatric intensivists than general pediatricians (71% vs 29%, respectively, p < 0.01). In regard to the individual Maslach Burnout Inventory domains, the average score was higher for emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and lower for professional accomplishment in the PICU group (p < 0.01). A cluster analysis showed that pediatric intensivists were more likely to develop the burnout syndrome involving all Maslach Burnout Inventory domains. The multivariate analysis found that the odds ratio for burnout in pediatric intensivists was 5.7 (95% CI, 1.9-16.7; p < 0.01).


Burnout is frequent among pediatric intensivists and characterized by cumulative involvement of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and professional accomplishment. Earlier recognition of emotional exhaustion may be important in preventing the development of a complete burnout syndrome. Improvement in workplace characteristics and measures to improve physician resilience are entirely warranted.

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