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Eur J Epidemiol. 2012 Mar;27(3):225-31. doi: 10.1007/s10654-012-9661-2. Epub 2012 Mar 3.

Genetic susceptibility to burnout in a Swedish twin cohort.

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Division of Insurance Medicine, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Most previous studies of burnout have focused on work environmental stressors, while familial factors so far mainly have been overlooked. The aim of the study was to estimate the relative importance of genetic influences on burnout (measured with Pines Burnout Measure) in a sample of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) Swedish twins. The study sample consisted of 20,286 individuals, born 1959-1986 from the Swedish twin registry who participated in the cross-sectional study of twin adults: genes and environment. Probandwise concordance rates (the risk for one twin to be affected given that his/her twin partner is affected by burnout) and within pair correlations were calculated for MZ and DZ same--and opposite sexed twin pairs. Heritability coefficients i.e. the proportion of the total variance attributable to genetic factors were calculated using standard biometrical model fitting procedures. The results showed that genetic factors explained 33% of the individual differences in burnout symptoms in women and men. Environmental factors explained a substantial part of the variation as well and are thus important to address in rehabilitation and prevention efforts to combat burnout.

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