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Original Article


Professional Burnout and Work Satisfaction in Spanish Allergists: Analysis of Working Conditions in the Specialty


T Chivato Pérez,1 A Campos Andreu,2 JM Negro Álvarez,3 F Caballero Martínez4

1Allergology Service, Hospital Central de la Defensa Gómez Ulla, Madrid, Spain
2Allergology Service, Hospital La Fé, Valencia, Spain
3Allergology Service, Hospital Virgen de la Arrixaca, Murcia, Spain
4Medical Research Institute, Francisco de Vitoria University School of Medicine, Madrid, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2011; Vol. 21(1): 13-21



Background: Burnout is a worrying problem in the medical profession and has proven to be highly prevalent in all the care settings and specialty areas in which it has been studied. We applied 2 widely used questionnaires to analyze the working conditions of Spanish allergists in terms of quality of professional life and degree of burnout perceived.

Methods: Participants completed 2 questionnaires: the 22-item Maslach scale, a structured questionnaire covering different aspects of the feelings and attitudes of professionals toward their work and patients; and the Spanish Quality of Professional Life Questionnaire (CPV-35), a 35-item questionnaire evaluating job satisfaction and perceived quality of life at work.

Results: We received 404 questionnaires from throughout Spain. The main sources of motivation were better pay (94.4%), more available resources/technology (85.1%), access to research activities (81%), and promotion in one’s professional career (80.1%). Analysis of the scores from the Maslach scale revealed that two-thirds of the allergists interviewed experienced medium and high levels of negative burnout (67.9% and 66.2%, respectively, for emotional exhaustion and depersonalization). This situation was in part compensated for by the fact that a slightly lower proportion of the group (59.2%) obtained very high scores on personal accomplishment in their work. Analysis of the scores from the CPV-35 questionnaire revealed 3 complementary aspects of job satisfaction: perceptions of the workload borne (5.8), management support available to cope with daily patient workload (5.6), and levels of intrinsic motivation for work (7.7), which was the
highest value. The score for the item summarizing self-perceived overall quality of working life was acceptable (6.4).

Conclusion: Promoting intrinsic motivation of Spanish allergists using the motivating factors identified in this study could protect against
professional burnout.

Key words: Allergology. Spain. Burnout. Work satisfaction.