BACKGROUND In the last few years there has been a growing interest in the psychosocial work environment of health care workers, since they are both at high risk of burnout, role conflict and job dissatifaction. Burnout, as a type of prolonged response to chronic job-related stress, has a special significance in health care settings, where staff experience both psychological--emotional and physical stress. OBJECTIVES The present study investigated the interrelationship between burnout, occupational stress and personality characteristics in a sample of 120 nurses employed in the Infectious Diseases Department and the Department of Medical Oncology of two major hospitals in Messina, Italy. METHODS Three questionnaire surveys were administered: The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) to estimate the job stress level, Occupational Stress Inventory to measure occupational stress and the Comrey Personality Scale to identify major personality characteristics. RESULTS The results showed a significant statistical diference regarding the burnout levels in the two groups under study, with a higher burnout level in the Medical Oncology staff with respect to the Infectious Diseases Staff. The latter group also showed a higher occupational stress compared to the second group, with a significant statistical difference regarding "stress sources", coping strategies" and psychological health". Concerning the CPS results, some personality characteristics, as predictors for burnout syndrome, were found in the Medical Oncology staff. CONCLUSIONS The study results underline the importance of the role ofpsychosocial work environment and the interrelationships between burnout, occupational stress and psychosomatic health in health care workers. In addition, in order to reduce a burnout risk, the Authors suggest improving the psychosocial work environment as a preventive measure.
C. Fenga, M. Faranda, M. Aragona
La Medicina del lavoro