Association between burnout and cortisol secretion, perceived stress, and psychopathology in palliative care unit health professionals

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Title: Association between burnout and cortisol secretion, perceived stress, and psychopathology in palliative care unit health professionals
Authors: Fernández-Sánchez, José Carlos | Pérez-Mármol, José Manuel | Blásquez, Antonia | Santos-Ruiz, Ana | Peralta-Ramírez, María Isabel
Research Group/s: Calidad de Vida, Bienestar Psicológico y Salud | Psicología Aplicada a la Salud y Comportamiento Humano (PSYBHE)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Psicología de la Salud
Keywords: Burnout | Salivary cortisol | Psychological stress | Psychopathology | Palliative care
Knowledge Area: Psicología Básica
Issue Date: Jun-2018
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Citation: Palliative and Supportive Care. 2018, 16(3): 286-297. doi:10.1017/S1478951517000244
Abstract: Objective: A high incidence of burnout has been reported in health professionals working in palliative care units. Our present study aims to determine whether there are differences in the secretion of salivary cortisol between palliative care unit health professionals with and without burnout, and to elucidate whether there is a relationship between burnout syndrome and perceived stress and psychopathological status in this population. Method: A total of 69 health professionals who met the inclusion criteria participated in our study, including physicians, nurses, and nursing assistants. Some 58 were women (M = 29.65 years, SD = 8.64) and 11 men (M = 35.67 years, SD = 11.90). The level of daily cortisol was registered in six measurements taken over the course of a workday. Burnout syndrome was evaluated with the Maslach Burnout Inventory–Human Services Survey (MBI–HSS), the level of perceived stress was measured using the Perceived Stress Scale, and psychopathological status was gauged using the SCL–90–R Symptoms Inventory. Results: There were statistically significant differences in secretion of cortisol in professionals with high scores on a single subscale of the MBI–HSS [F(3.5) = 2.48, p < 0.03]. This effect was observed 15–30 minutes after waking up (p < 0.01) and at bedtime (p < 0.06). Moreover, the professionals with burnout showed higher scores on the psychopathology and stress subscales than professionals without it. Significance of results: A higher score in any dimension of the burnout syndrome in palliative care unit health professionals seems to be related to several physiological and psychological parameters. These findings may be relevant for further development of our understanding of the relationship between levels of burnout and cortisol secretion in the health workers in these units.
Sponsor: The study is part of a doctoral dissertation and was supported by the I + D Project (no. PSI2010–15780) of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.
ISSN: 1478-9515 (Print) | 1478-9523 (Online)
DOI: 10.1017/S1478951517000244
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © Cambridge University Press 2017
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - CV, BP Y S - Artículos de Revistas
INV - PSYBHE - Artículos de Revistas

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