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Burnout and psychiatric morbidity among doctors in the UK: A systematic literature review of prevalence and associated factors

  • Udemezue O. Imo (a1)
Aims and method

To systematically review the prevalence and associated factors of burnout and stress-related psychiatric disorders among UK doctors. An extensive search was conducted of PubMed, EBSCOhost and British medical journals for studies published over a 20-year span measuring the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity (using the General Health Questionnaire) and burnout (using the Maslach Burnout Inventory).


Prevalence of psychiatric morbidity ranged from 17 to 52%. Burnout scores for emotional exhaustion ranged from 31 to 54.3%, depersonalisation 17.4 to 44.5% and low personal accomplishment 6 to 39.6%. General practitioners and consultants had the highest scores. Factors significantly associated with increase in the prevalence of burnout and psychiatric morbidity include low job satisfaction, overload, increased hours worked and neuroticism.

Clinical implications

The results indicate a worryingly high rate of burnout and psychiatric morbidity among UK doctors, which could have a huge negative impact on healthcare provision in general. Factors at personal and organisational levels contribute to burnout and psychiatric morbidity, and so efforts made to counter these problems should target both levels.

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This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Correspondence to Udemezue O. Imo (
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Burnout and psychiatric morbidity among doctors in the UK: A systematic literature review of prevalence and associated factors

  • Udemezue O. Imo (a1)
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