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Burnout and Behavior-Related Health Risk Factors: Results From the Population-Based Finnish Health 2000 Study

Ahola, Kirsi PhD; Pulkki-Råback, Laura PhD; Kouvonen, Anne PhD; Rossi, Helena MD; Aromaa, Arpo MD, PhD; Lönnqvist, Jouko MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: January 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 1 - p 17–22
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31823ea9d9
ORIGINAL ARTICLES: CME Available for this Article at ACOEM.org

Objective: To explore the relationship between burnout and behavior-related health risk factors.

Methods: We collected data from a population-based sample (n = 3264) through interviews, questionnaires, and health examinations. Burnout was assessed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory—General Survey. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and leisure-time physical activity were self-reported. Obesity was based on measurements at screening.

Results: Burnout and exhaustion were associated with a higher likelihood of risk factors. More specifically, burnout syndrome was related to low physical activity and obesity, exhaustion dimension to low physical activity and heavy drinking, cynicism dimension to low physical activity, and diminished professional efficacy to low physical activity, obesity, and lower likelihood of heavy drinking.

Conclusions: Improving working conditions and psychoeducation on recommended ways of coping and recovery could help to prevent negative health consequences of chronic work stress.

From the Work Organizations, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (Drs Ahola, Pulkki-Råback, and Rossi), Helsinki, Finland; IBS Unit of Personality, Work, and Health Psychology (Dr Pulkki-Råback), University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities (Dr Kouvonen), Wroclaw Faculty, Wroclaw, Poland; Kesko Plc (Dr Rossi), Helsinki, Finland; National Institute of Health and Welfare (Drs Aromaa and Lönnqvist), Helsinki, Finland; and Department of Psychiatry (Dr Lönnqvist), University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.

Address correspondence to: Kirsi Ahola, PhD, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland (kirsi.ahola@ttl.fi).

Funded by Academy of Finland (project 123621 to L. P.-R.)

Author Ahola and coauthors Pulkki-Råback, Kouvonen, Rossi Aromaa, and Lönnqvist have no commercial interest in this research.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine