The purpose was to reexamine cognitive performance and cortisol levels of initial clinical burnout patients, non-clinical burnout individuals, and healthy controls. After 1.5-years of the initial measurement, clinical burnout patients showed a reduction of burnout symptoms and general physical and psychological complaints, but these were still elevated compared with controls. Nonetheless, they continued to report cognitive problems and still showed a minor impaired cognitive test performance. However, they no longer reported larger subjective costs associated with cognitive test performance and their cortisol awakening response (CAR) returned to a normal level. Compared with controls, non-clinical burnout individuals still reported the same, elevated, level of burnout symptoms, general physical and psychological complaints, and cognitive problems. Their cognitive test performance and associated subjective costs remained normal. However, they seemed to continue to display a lowered CAR. To conclude, after 1.5-years, clinical burnout patients got better, but not 'well', and non-clinical burnout individuals remained not 'well'.

Chronic stress, Cognition, Cognitive functioning, Cortisol awakening response, Emotional exhaustion, Executive control, Fatigue, HPA axis, Longitudinal,
Biological Psychology
Department of Psychology

Oosterholt, B.G, Maes, J.H.R, van der Linden, D, Verbraak, M.J.P.M, & Kompier, M.A.J. (2016). Getting better, but not well: A 1.5 year follow-up of cognitive performance and cortisol levels in clinical and non-Clinical burnout. Biological Psychology, 117, 89–99. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.02.009