Exploring within- and between-gender differences in burnout: 8 different occupational groups

Innstrand ST, Langballe EM, Falkum E, Aasland OG. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2011; 84(7): 813-24. Published online 2011 Jun 18.

Article in English.

Abstract on Pubmed: Objectives. The aim of this study was to examine gender differences in burnout within and between occupations using latent mean analysis. Methods. Burnout was measured using the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI), designed to assess the two sub-dimension exhaustion and disengagement. Men and women from eight different occupational groups in Norway were investigated: lawyers, physicians, nurses, teachers, church ministers, bus drivers and people working in advertising and information technology (n = 4,965). The average age was 42 years (SD 10.8), and 50.5% of the respondents were female. Within- and between-gender differences were examined by multi-group latent mean analysis by means of LISREL. Results. Significant latent mean differences in the two dimensions of burnout between men and women were demonstrated. In general, the analyses indicate that overall, women report more exhaustion, but not more disengagement, than men. However, separate analyses indicate that the gender differences vary across occupational groups, especially for the disengagement dimension. Within-gender analyses suggest an approximately similar burnout profile across occupational groups for men and women. Conclusions. Despite gender equality in society in general, and inconclusive findings in previous studies on gender differences in burnout, women in this study seem to experience slightly higher burnout levels than men. Occupational differences found in the burnout profiles indicate that some professions may be more prone to burnout than others. For the occupational groups most at risk, more research is needed to disclose potential organizational factors that may make these workers more prone to burnout than others.

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