Stress, personal characteristics and burnout among first postgraduate year residents: a nationwide study in Taiwan

Author(s): Lue BH, Chen HJ, Wang CW, Cheng Y, Chen MC


Many studies have recognized that the first postgraduate year (PGY-1) of residency training is the most stressful year. Failing to cope with the stress will have negative impact on their work performance and the quality of patient care. To investigate stress and burnout in first postgraduate year (PGY-1) residents and to explore the relationship among stress, personal characteristics and burnout. A total of 555 PGY-1 residents completed the job stress questionnaire, a Chinese version of the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory, NEO-Five Factor Inventory, Positive and Negative Affectivity Schedule Scale and Coping Strategies Inventory. Working hours were also collected. The association among stress, burnout, personality, coping strategies and affectivity was examined by Pearson correlation. Hierarchical multiple regression was performed to analyze the contribution of predictors to burnout. Residents identified their working environment and emotional pressures and demands from patients as their primary sources of stress. They exhibited less neuroticism, more conscientiousness and a propensity for positive affectivity, as well as a tendency to use engagement coping strategies. Burnout was positively correlated with stress, neuroticism, negative affectivity, disengagement coping and weekly work hours. Job stress and work hours explained 24.7% of variance in burnout; personality and coping strategies explained an additional 10.4% and 5.4% of variance, respectively. Besides job stress and work-hours, introversion, conscientiousness, having negative affectivity and using disengagement coping predicted burnout. Resident's personal characteristics were closely related to stress and burnout. Therefore, in addition to assessing their work-related stress, exploring their personal characteristics should be taken into account for early identification of residents at risk of burnout.

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