Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 8, pp 1578–1590 | Cite as

Physicians’ Perspectives About Burnout: a Systematic Review and Metasynthesis

  • Jordan SibeoniEmail author
  • Laura Bellon-Champel
  • Antoine Mousty
  • Emilie Manolios
  • Laurence Verneuil
  • Anne Revah-Levy



Doctors’ burnout is a major public health issue with important harmful effects on both the healthcare system and physicians’ mental health. Qualitative studies are relevant in this context, focusing as they do on the views of the physicians of how they live and understand burnout in their own professional field.


To explore physicians’ perspectives on burnout by applying a metasynthesis approach, including a systematic literature review and analysis of the qualitative studies.

Data Sources

Medline, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and SSCI from the earliest available date to June 2018

Review Methods

This metasynthesis follows thematic synthesis procedures. Four databases were systematically searched for qualitative studies reporting doctors’ perspectives on burnout. Article quality was assessed with the Critical Appraisal Skills Program. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes and synthesize them.


Thirty-three articles were included, covering data from more than 1589 medical doctors (68 residents and 1521 physicians). Two themes emerged from the analysis: (1) stress factors promoting burnout—ranked as organizational, then contextual and relational, and finally individual—factors and (2) protective factors, which were above all individual but also relational and organizational.


The individual and organizational levels are abundantly described in the literature, as risk factors and interventions. Our results show that doctors identify numerous organizational factors as originators of potential burnout, but envision protecting themselves individually. Relational factors, in a mediate position, should be addressed as an original axis of protection and intervention for battling doctors’ burnout.


burnout physician behavior systematic reviews qualitative research 



The authors wish to thank Jo Ann Cahn for the translation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11606_2019_5062_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 29 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordan Sibeoni
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Laura Bellon-Champel
    • 2
  • Antoine Mousty
    • 1
  • Emilie Manolios
    • 2
    • 3
  • Laurence Verneuil
    • 2
  • Anne Revah-Levy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Service Universitaire de Psychiatrie de l’Adolescent Argenteuil Hospital CentreArgenteuilFrance
  2. 2.ECSTRRA Team, UMR-1153, InsermUniversité de ParisParisFrance
  3. 3.Service de Psychologie et Psychiatrie de Liaison et d’Urgences, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou AP-HPHôpitaux Universitaires Paris OuestParisFrance

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