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Burnout, Satisfaction Vary With Age, Sex Among Neurologists

Sex does not independently predict burnout, fatigue, overall quality of life after controlling for age

FRIDAY, Nov. 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Burnout, career satisfaction, and well-being vary by age and sex among neurologists, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in Neurology.

Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and colleagues conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses of 1,091 men’s and 580 women’s responses to a 2016 survey of U.S. neurologists.

The researchers observed an initial increase in emotional exhaustion with age, which started to decline as neurologists got older. As age increased, there was also a decrease in depersonalization. Initially, fatigue and overall quality of life worsened with age, but as neurologists got older, they started to improve. On univariate analysis, more women than men met the criteria for burnout (64.6 versus 57.8 percent). After controlling for age, sex did not independently predict burnout, fatigue, or overall quality of life. Greater autonomy, meaning in life, reasonable number of clerical tasks, and having effective support staff correlated with lower burnout risk in both men and women. Higher burnout risk was seen in association with more hours worked, more nights on call, higher outpatient volume, and higher percent of time in clinical practice. A greater number of weekends doing hospital rounds correlated with higher burnout risk in women.

“Efforts to prevent or mitigate burnout and promote professional fulfillment will be most effective if they are personalized to reflect the physician’s age, career stage, home life, and sex,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; one author disclosed ties to the publishing and health information technology industries.

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