Effort–Reward Imbalance and Burnout Among ICU Nursing Staff: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Occupational stress is commonly observed among staff in intensive care units (ICUs). Sociodemographic, organizational, and job-related factors may lead to burnout among ICU health workers. In addition, these factors could modify the balance between efforts done and rewards perceived by workers; consequently, this imbalance could increase levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and decrease a sense of personal accomplishment.


The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between effort–reward imbalance and burnout dimensions (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment) among ICU nursing staff in a university hospital in Santiago, Chile.


A convenience sample of 36 registered nurses and 46 nurse aides answered the Maslach Burnout Inventory and Effort–Reward Imbalance Questionnaire and provided sociodemographic and work-related data.


Age and effort–reward imbalance were significantly associated with emotional exhaustion in both registered nurses and nurse aides; age was negatively correlated with emotional exhaustion, whereas effort–reward imbalance was positively correlated. Age was negatively associated with depersonalization. None of the predictors were associated with personal accomplishment.


This study adds valuable information about relationships of sociodemographic factors and effort–reward imbalance and their impact on dimensions of burnout, particularly on emotional exhaustion.

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