Prevalence and determinants of burnout syndrome among primary healthcare physicians in Qatar
Background: General practitioners (GPs) in particular are prone to developing burnout syndrome, as they are frequently overloaded with the demands of caring for sick patients. This study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of burnout syndrome among primary healthcare physicians in Qatar, and to identify its determinants. Methods: A cross-sectional survey targeting all GPs working in 21 primary healthcare centres in Qatar was conducted by using a self-administered Astudillo and Mendinueta questionnaire that covered socio-demographic data and job characteristics of the physician. It included a list of symptoms of burnout syndrome. Burnout syndrome assessment scores were calculated as a summation of answers to all 16 items, with a total minimum score of 0 and a total maximum score of 48. Physicians who scored more than 19 were classified as burned out. Results: Out of the 230 GPs recruited, 183 responded, which represents a response rate of 79.5%. Of all the GPs, 12.6% were burned out. The burnout syndrome was higher among female GPs (28.1%) than male GPs (6.9%). This difference was statistically significant (p-value < 0.001). In terms of nationality, 37.8% of the Qatari GPs were burned out, compared to 11.6% of the foreign GPs (p-value < 0.004). Burnout syndrome was reversibly associated with years of experience and age. Fatigue, the use of analgesics and irritability were the most common symptoms. Conclusion: Burnout syndrome is common among female and young GPs working in primary healthcare centres in Qatar. The improvement of GPs’ coping skills and their work conditions are recommended to prevent burnout.
Keywords: burnout syndrome; primary healthcare; physician; Qatar; prevalence; determinants