Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Med Educ. 2019 Jul 4;10:129-135. doi: 10.5116/ijme.5caf.53ad.

Factors related to burnout in resident physicians in Japan.

Author information

Department of General Medicine, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, Japan.



We explore the prevalence and characteristics of burnout among Japanese resident physicians and identifies factors associated with burnout.


A cross-sectional study was conducted three times between April 2017 and March 2018 at a Japanese teaching hospital. Resident physicians were invited to answer an online survey that included existing valid instruments related to burnout, depression, and empathy. Demographic, background, occupational, and socioeconomic data were also collected. Participants were prompted to report the average daily work hours and the specialty they wish to pursue.


Overall, 39/76 (51%), 27/76 (36%), and 21/76 (28%) resident physicians responded to surveys in April 2017, October 2017, and March 2018, respectively. The percentages of participants with burnout for surveys in April 2017, October 2017, and March 2018 were 7/39 (18%), 6/27 (22%), and 7/21 (33.3%). Emotional exhaustion (EE) was the only burnout component strongly correlated with the severity of depression (r = .615, p < .001; r = .706, p < .001; r = .601, p < .01). EE and depersonalization (DP) had no significant correlation with average daily working hours (β = .156, p = .343 for EE; β = .061, p = .711 for DP).


The results suggest that capping working hours alone may not be effective in reducing burnout in Japanese resident physicians. Medical educators might need to consider not only working hours but also individual job quality and satisfaction to address burnout. Future studies may need to incorporate qualitative methods to explore the characteristics of burnout.


burnout; empathy; overtime hours; residency training; work style reform

Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for International journal of medical education
Loading ...
Support Center