Stress and burnout among Portuguese anaesthesiologists

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Background and objective:

Anaesthesiology is considered a stressful occupation. Our purpose was to assess stress and burnout among Portuguese anaesthesiologists.


A cross-sectional survey based on an anonymous questionnaire was sent to all Portuguese anaesthesiologists registered by the Portuguese Medical Association. Data on patient characteristics and professional variables, perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale), the subscale of work satisfaction of the Pressure Management Indicator scale, burnout (Maslach Burnout Inventory) and main stress factors were collected. The proportion of participation was 31.8%.


The average value of perceived stress scale was 24.0 (range: 0–56). Among the 263 anaesthesiologists, 57.9% experienced emotional exhaustion, 44.8% lack of personal accomplishment and 90.9% depersonalisation. Lack of personal accomplishment increased with number of children among women but not among men; depersonalisation was more frequent among anaesthesiologists working in community hospitals and anaesthesiologists with leadership functions experienced less professional stress.


There are stress conditions and burnout amongst Portuguese anaesthesiologists. The prevalence of depersonalisation was extremely high in the studied sample. Emotional exhaustion is partially explained by high perceived-stress and low satisfaction with organisation in the job according to Pressure Management Indicator scale.

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