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Soz Praventivmed. 1993;38 Suppl 2:S131-2.

[Psychological stress caused by work: burnout syndrome].

[Article in German]

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Psychiatrische Universitätspoliklinik Basel.


In a variety of helping professions emotional stress can lead to "burnout". The syndrome is characterised by emotional exhaustion, attitudinal hardening (loss of empathy) and a sense of decreased accomplishment. Longterm consequences of burnout can be mental problems such as depression or psychosomatic disorders. Affected employees are less productive and sick more often. They may even quit their jobs or need early retirement. In spite of this considerable loss of working force often neither those affected nor the employers are aware of the problem in time. Burnout seems to be caused by disproportionally high efforts (time, emotional involvement, empathy) and poor satisfaction (negative outcome) in addition to stressful working conditions (high demands). It affects mainly nurses, physicians, social workers, teachers and other similar professions. In order to prevent burnout, awareness of the problem must be promoted. Examples of job-specific measures for nurses and teachers are given. Their goal is to lower the professional stress and improve satisfaction. Social support and improved team cooperation can further protect against burnout.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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