Accumulating evidence from medical workforce research indicates that poor work/life balance and increased work/home conflict induce psychological distress. In this study we aim to examine the existence of a priority gap between ideal and real lives, and its association with psychological burnout among academic professionals.
This cross-sectional survey, conducted in 2014, included faculty members (228 men, 102 women) at a single medical university in Tokyo, Japan. The outcome of interest was psychological burnout, measured with a validated inventory. Discordance between ideal- and real-life priorities, based on participants’ responses (work, family, individual life, combinations thereof), was defined as a priority gap.
The majority (64%) of participants chose “work” as the greatest priority in real life, but only 28% chose “work” as the greatest priority in their conception of an ideal life. Priority gaps were identified in 59.5% of respondents. A stepwise multivariable general linear model demonstrated that burnout scores were associated positively with respondents’ current position (P < 0.0018) and the presence of a priority gap (P < 0.0001), and negatively with the presence of social support (P < 0.0001). Among participants reporting priority gaps, burnout scores were significantly lower in those with children than in those with no children (P interaction = 0.011); no such trend was observed in participants with no priority gap.
A gap in priorities between an ideal and real life was associated with an increased risk of burnout, and the presence of children, which is a type of “family” social support, had a mitigating effect on burnout among those reporting priority gaps.
Maslach C, Jackson S, Leiter M. Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual (3rd ed). California: Consulting Psychologists Press; 1996. p. 191–218.
Nitzsche A, Driller E, Kowalski C, Ansmann L, Pfaff H. The conflict between work and private life and its relationship with burnout - results of a physician survey in breast cancer centers in North Rhine-Westphalia. Gesundheitswesen. 2013. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1337996.
Cossman JS, Street D. Mississippi burnout part II: satisfaction, autonomy and work/family balance. J Miss State Med Assoc. 2009;50:338–45. PubMed
Lu DW, Dresden S, McCloskey C, Branzetti J, Gisondi MA. Impact of Burnout on Self-Reported Patient Care Among Emergency Physicians. West J Emerg Med. 2015. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2015.9.27945.
Rabatin J, Williams E, Baier Manwell L, Schwartz MD, Brown RL, Linzer M. Predictors and Outcomes of Burnout in Primary Care Physicians. J Prim Care Community Health. 2015. doi: 10.1177/2150131915607799.
Fuyuno I. Numbers of young scientists declining in Japan -Government policies are hampering the country’s next generation of research leaders, advisory body says. 2012. http://www.nature.com/news/numbers-of-young-scientists-declining-in-japan-1.10254. Accessed 27 Sept 2016.
Umene-Nakano W, Kato TA, Kikuchi S, Tateno M, Fujisawa D, Hoshuyama T, Nakamura J. Nationwide survey of work environment, work-life balance and burnout among psychiatrists in Japan. PLoS ONE. 2013. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055189.
Maslach C, Leiter MP, Schaufeli WB. Measuring Burnout. In: The Oxford handbook of organizational well-being. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2009. p. 86–108.
Kubo M. The factorial and construct validity of the Japanese Burnout Scale among service workers. Shinrigaku Kenkyu. 2014;85:364–72. CrossRef
Sarason, IG, Levine HM, Basham, RB, Sarason BR. Social Support QUESTIONNAIRE. 1983. http://wikieducator.org/images/1/14/Sarason-83-SSQ1.pdf. Accessed 11 Oct 2016.
Chatani Y, Nomura K, Ishiguro A, Jagsi R. Factors Associated With Attainment of Specialty Board Qualifications and Doctor of Medical Science Degrees Among Japanese Female Doctors. Acad Med. 2016. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001260.
Nomura K, Yamazaki Y, Gruppen LD, Horie S, Takeuchi M, Illing J. The difficulty of professional continuation among female doctors in Japan: a qualitative study of alumnae of 13 medical schools in Japan. BMJ Open. 2015. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005845.
Equal Employment and Child Welfare, Annual Health, Labour, and Welfare Report p.179. Ministry of,Health, Labor and Welfare. 2015. http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/wp/wp-hw9/dl/07e.pdf. Accessed 25 Mar 2017.
Awareness survey about balancing work and life “Shigoto to Seikatsu no Chowa ni Kansuru Ishikichosa”. Cabinet Office of Japanese Garvernment. 2012. http://wwwa.cao.go.jp/wlb/research/pdf/wlb-net-svy.pdf. Accessed 27 Sept 2016.
- Effects of gaps in priorities between ideal and real lives on psychological burnout among academic faculty members at a medical university in Japan: a cross-sectional study
- BioMed Central