Burnout, Depression, Career Satisfaction, and Work-Life Integration by Physician Race/Ethnicity

Luis C. Garcia, Tait D. Shanafelt, Colin P. West, Christine A. Sinsky, Mickey T. Trockel, Laurence Nedelec, Yvonne A. Maldonado, Michael Tutty, Liselotte N. Dyrbye, Magali Fassiotto

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9 Scopus citations


Importance: Previous research suggests that the prevalence of occupational burnout varies by demographic characteristics, such as sex and age, but the association between physician race/ethnicity and occupational burnout is less well understood. Objective: To investigate possible differences in occupational burnout, depressive symptoms, career satisfaction, and work-life integration by race/ethnicity in a sample of US physicians. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this cross-sectional study, data for this secondary analysis of 4424 physicians were originally collected from a cross-sectional survey of US physicians between October 12, 2017, and March 15, 2018. The dates of analysis were March 8, 2019, to May 21, 2020. Multivariable logistic regression, including statistical adjustment for physician demographic and clinical practice characteristics, was performed to examine the association between physician race/ethnicity and occupational burnout, depressive symptoms, career satisfaction, and work-life integration. Exposures: Physician demographic and clinical practice characteristics included race/ethnicity, sex, age, clinical specialty, hours worked per week, primary practice setting, and relationship status. Main Outcomes and Measures: Physicians with a high score on the emotional exhaustion or depersonalization subscale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory were classified as having burnout. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders instrument. Physicians who marked "strongly agree" or "agree" in response to the survey items "I would choose to become a physician again" and "My work schedule leaves me enough time for my personal/family life" were considered to be satisfied with their career and work-life integration, respectively. Results: Data were available for 4424 physicians (mean [SD] age, 52.46 [12.03] years; 61.5% [2722 of 4424] male). Most physicians (78.7% [3480 of 4424]) were non-Hispanic White. Non-Hispanic Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, and non-Hispanic Black physicians comprised 12.3% (542 of 4424), 6.3% (278 of 4424), and 2.8% (124 of 4424) of the sample, respectively. Burnout was observed in 44.7% (1540 of 3447) of non-Hispanic White physicians, 41.7% (225 of 540) of non-Hispanic Asian physicians, 38.5% (47 of 122) of non-Hispanic Black physicians, and 37.4% (104 of 278) of Hispanic/Latinx physicians. The adjusted odds of burnout were lower in non-Hispanic Asian physicians (odds ratio [OR], 0.77; 95% CI, 0.61-0.96), Hispanic/Latinx physicians (OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.47-0.86), and non-Hispanic Black physicians (OR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.30-0.79) compared with non-Hispanic White physicians. Non-Hispanic Black physicians were more likely to report satisfaction with work-life integration compared with non-Hispanic White physicians (OR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.05-2.73). No differences in depressive symptoms or career satisfaction were observed by race/ethnicity. Conclusions and Relevance: Physicians in minority racial/ethnic groups were less likely to report burnout compared with non-Hispanic White physicians. Future research is necessary to confirm these results, investigate factors contributing to increased rates of burnout among non-Hispanic White physicians, and assess factors underlying the observed patterns in measures of physician wellness by race/ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2012762
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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