Burnout among Lebanese Oncologists: Prevalence and Risk Factors

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon.

Abstract

Background: Burnout syndrome (BOS) is defined as a work-related psychological state characterized by emotional
exhaustion, depersonalization, and low sense of personal accomplishment. Despite the extensive data on physician
burnout, studies assessing the prevalence of burnout among oncologists in the Middle East and especially Lebanon are
lacking. Our main objective was to determine this prevalence as well as identify potential factors associated with the
development of burnout. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted among medical, surgical, and radiation
oncologists attending several Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities in Lebanon over the course of a three
month period. Participants were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire composed of socio-demographic
and work characteristics, as well as the Maslach Burnout Inventory- Human Service Survey (MBI-HSS). Results: A total
of 51 oncologists completed the survey. Medical oncologists constituted the majority (84.3%), followed by surgical
oncologists (9.8%) and radiation oncologists (5.9%). Approximately 47.1% of our sample had a high burnout level in at
least one of the domains. 33.3% of oncologists exhibited high emotional exhaustion (EE) scores, 19.6% demonstrated
low personal accomplishment (PA) scores, and 13.7% displayed high depersonalization (DP) scores. There was no
statistically significant association between overall burnout level and any of the demographic or work characteristics.
However, age was significantly associated with EE (p=0.03), while DP scores were significantly associated with the
number of patients seen daily (p=0.028). Conclusion: Burnout is common among cancer professionals in Lebanon.
Future research is needed to explore the problem in depth and suggest effective preventive approaches.

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