Recovery experiences mediate the effect of burnout on life satisfaction among Chinese physicians: a structural equation modeling analysis

Abstract

Purpose

Recovery experiences not only make it possible for individuals to restore their energy resources and return to pre-stressor levels but also contribute to the formation of their subjective well-being. This paper investigates the effect of burnout on life satisfaction among Chinese physicians who are frequently confronted with a considerable number of work-related stressors and examines the mediating role of recovery experiences in the relationship between burnout and life satisfaction.

Methods

A total of 642 physicians working in five public tertiary hospitals in China responded to a self-administered questionnaire including demographic information, the Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Scale, and the Recovery Experience Questionnaire. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted to test the incremental variance of any given set of independent variables. Structural equation modeling was employed to test the presumed relationships between variables involved. Asymptotic and resampling strategies were used to examine the mediating effects of recovery experiences in the relationship between burnout and life satisfaction.

Results

Burnout and recovery experiences were important predictors of life satisfaction and the direct effect of burnout on life satisfaction was statistically significant and negative and the path coefficients of burnout with life satisfaction were significantly decreased when recovery experiences were modeled as mediators.

Conclusion

Findings of the study highlight the importance of promoting recovery experiences to reduce burnout and improve life satisfaction among physicians rather than focusing on the less easily modifiable work-related stressors.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude to Professor Sonnentag and Professor Fritz who authorize the Recovery Experience Questionnaire and all the physicians who participated in this survey. The authors are also very grateful to the editors and the reviewers for their valuable comments and constructive suggestions that would greatly improve the quality of this paper.

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Correspondence to Xiaoshi Yang.

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Song, Y., Jia, Y., Sznajder, K. et al. Recovery experiences mediate the effect of burnout on life satisfaction among Chinese physicians: a structural equation modeling analysis. Int Arch Occup Environ Health (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-020-01554-1

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Keywords

  • Recovery experiences
  • Life satisfaction
  • Burnout
  • Physicians
  • China
  • Structural equation modelling