Objectives: This study aims to determine the prevalence of burnout in medical students across all five years, and to investigate factors that might contribute to and protect from its effects.
Method: The design uses a cross-sectional, self-administered survey of medical students at The University of the West Indies–Cave Hill, and consisted of a modified Maslach Burnout Inventory–Human Services Survey with additional items developed by the authors.
Results: One hundred and nineteenstudents representing all years participated in the survey: 28.8% male and 78.2% female. Students with high scores of emotional exhaustion (EA), depersonalization (DP) and personal accomplishment (PA) were reviewed. There were significant differences in emotional exhaustion (t = -2.916, df = 104, p = 0.004) and personal accomplishment (t = -2.567, df = 91, p = 0.012) between the basic science and clinical years. Pearson’s r correlations showed a moderate positive relationship between age and personal accomplishment (r = 0.38, n = 92, p < 0.001). Older persons tended to have greater personal accomplishment scores. Persons with financial constraints in the past 12 months had significantly higher emotional exhaustion scores (t = 2.23, df = 103, p = 0.28) and depersonalization scores (t = 2.295, df = 95, p = 0.24) than those who did not. No differences were found in relationship to ethnicity, educational histories, parental educational histories, marital status, or effect of serious illness in self or family.
Conclusions: The study supports the notion that medical students in general have a high degree of emotional exhaustion that increases as they progress academically.
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