Stability and change in burnout: A 10-year follow-up study among primary care physicians
The aim of the present study is (1) to investigate the impact of patient demands on primary care physicians' burnout and (2) to examine the stability and change of burnout across time. Participants were drawn from the official Dutch registration system for primary health care, and longitudinal panel data (n= 165) from three waves with a 5-year time interval were used. They filled in the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and a validated scale for the assessment of patient demands. The results of various stability and change models that were tested using structural equation modelling (SEM) indicated that demanding patient contacts lead to increased burnout among physicians. In addition, the findings suggested that about one quarter of the variance in physician's actual burnout levels across one decade is accounted for by a stable component, whereas about three quarters is accounted for by a change component. Hence, physician burnout seems to be a rather chronic condition that may be aggravated by exposure to demanding patients.