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Burnout Among Early Career Clinical Investigators

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Abstract

Burnout is a pervasive problem among clinicians. However, little is known about burnout among early career clinical investigators, who must balance clinical responsibilities with challenges related to research. We aimed to determine the prevalence of and demographic associations with burnout in a cohort of early career clinical investigators.

A cross-sectional questionnaire was administered to 179 trainees at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education in 2007–2008. We used chi-square analyses and Fisher’s exact test to determine whether associations between demographic characteristics and burnout were significant. Of the participants, 29 (16%) reported feeling burned out. Burnout was more prevalent among those over 35 years of age relative to their younger counterparts (29% vs. 13%, p= 0.01) and among females relative to males (22% vs. 10%, p= 0.03). With regard to race and ethnicity, burnout was most common among underrepresented minorities (30%) followed by Caucasians (18%) and Asians (3%); these differences were significant (p= 0.02). Considering the early career status of these research trainees, rates of burnout were concerning. Certain demographic subgroups—including older trainees, females, and underrepresented minorities—had particularly high rates of burnout and may benefit from interventions that provide them with skills needed to sustain successful clinical research careers. Clin Trans Sci 2010; Volume 3: 186–188
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Keywords: African-American; Hispanic; burnout; clinical research training programs; clinical researchers; cynicism; exhaustion; female; under-represented minority

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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