Burnout is a psychological syndrome that results from prolonged exposure to stressful work activities and includes 3 dimensions: emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP), and low sense of personal accomplishment (PA). Burnout is a widespread problem in numerous professions but is particularly high among medical students, residents, and early-career physicians compared with college graduates of similar age. However, minimal research has addressed burnout in osteopathic medical students.
To assess levels of burnout in osteopathic medical students and to examine the relationship among burnout, perceived stress, sleep quality, and smartphone use.
This study used a cross-sectional study design and an anonymous, electronic questionnaire service to administer the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Perceived Stress Scale-4, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality index, and the Smartphone Addiction Scale Short Version.
A total of 385 participants (mean [SD] age, 25 [2.4] years; 208 [54.0%] women; 286 [74.3%] white; 138 [35.8%] second-year osteopathic medical students [OMSs]) completed the survey. Of the 385 participants, 9 (2.3%) reported high EE, 67 (17.4) reported high DP, and 310 (80.5) reported a high level of low PA. When comparing dimensions of burnout by gender, only levels of PA differed by gender, with men reporting higher levels of burnout compared with women (χ12=5.2, P=.022). Further, levels of DP differed by year in medical school (χ 2=17.3, P=.008), with post-hoc comparisons showing differences between OMS I and OMS III (F=4.530, df=3, P=.004). Linear regression models showed that higher perceived stress (standardized β=0.5, P<.001), poorer sleep quality (standardized β=0.2, P=.001), and higher smartphone addiction scores (standardized β=0.1, P<.001) were associated with higher EE. Similarly, higher perceived stress (standardized β=0.2, P<.001), poorer sleep quality (standardized β=0.2, P=.001), and higher smartphone addiction scores (standardized β=0.2, P=.001) were associated with higher DP. Only higher perceived stress was associated with higher levels of low PA (standardized β=-0.4, P<.001).
These findings suggest independent associations with EE, DP, perceived stress, sleep quality, and smartphone use. Additional research with a larger, more diverse sample is needed to confirm these findings. If confirmed, wellness interventions can be designed to target 2 modifiable factors: sleep quality and smartphone use.