Burnout and Empathy: A Cross-Sectional Study among Resident Physicians in Public Sector Hospitals of a Developing Country


  •   Muhammad Hamza Khalid

  •   Rafia Ishtiaq

  •   Laiba Fatima

  •   Hassaan Ahmed

  •   Aqsa Masood

  •   Tayyab Mumtaz Khan

  •   Hajira Sajid

  •   Rida Qaiser

  •   Mahnoor Awan

  •   Daneyal Arshad


The main objective of our study was to determine the prevalence of burnout and to identify various socio-demographic factors which are associated with resident burnout. As a secondary objective, we aimed to assess levels of empathy among the residents. A descriptive cross-sectional study was performed among residents working in Holy Family Hospital, Benazir Bhutto Hospital, and District Headquarter Hospital, all of which are situated in district Rawalpindi of Punjab, Pakistan. Data were collected from January 2019 to April 2019 using a convenient sampling technique. The participants were requested to complete Maslach Burnout Inventory to measure burnout and Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy to measure empathy from January 2019 to April 2019. For data analysis IBM SPSS © version 25.0 was used. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the quantitative variables. Chi-square test was used to determine the association between burnout and categorical variables. Then, those independent variables with p-value < 0.05 were subjected to binary logistic regression to identify predictors of burnout. A P-value of < 0.05 was used as the criterion for statistical significance and OR with 95% confidence interval was used to indicate the strength of association. Independent sample t-test was used to assess empathy among the groups. The prevalence of burnout in our sample was 78%. The average burnout score of the sample was 81±13.45. Weekly working hours (p-value < 0.05) and the type of specialty (p-value < 0.05) were significantly associated with resident burnout. Residents working more than 80 hours were more prone to develop burnout [AOR 2.700(1.42-5.120)]. Medical residents were found to be at a higher risk of developing burnout as compared to surgical residents [(AOR 2.097(1.16-3.78)]. Residents working less than 80 hours per week had more empathy scores as compared to residents working more than 80 hours and this result was statistically significant (p-value < 0.05). However, no significant difference in empathy was found for age, gender, marital status, and posts. Therefore, weekly working hours should be reduced to diminish burnout and increase empathy, thereby, promoting the quality of care being delivered to the patient. Moreover, efforts should be made to reduce burnout in medicine residents so that we may promote the doctor-patient relationship.

Keywords: Burnout, Country, Developing, Empathy, Hospitals, Public, Resident


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