Several studies have shown that there is a relatively high prevalence of burnout and mental distress among working physicians. This is an issue of concern, not only for the individual physician, but also in relation to patient treatment. Both self-perceived and objectively observed associations between physician distress and sub-optimal functioning at work have been reported. In addition, physicians have been found to be reluctant to seek treatment in the traditional health services. Easily accessible and low-threshold interventions to reduce burnout and to prevent serious consequences of distress have therefore been advised.
Few long-term follow-up studies have, however, examined the course of burnout and/or mental distress in physicians after interventions aiming to reduce burnout and associated factors. Such studies are therefore needed, in addition to knowledge about factors predicting or being associated with such course over time. On this background, the three-year course of emotional exhaustion (one dimension in the burnout syndrome) and mental distress in physicians, after a short-term intervention at Villa Sana in Norway, has been investigated in the present thesis. Factors associated with the post-intervention course of emotional exhaustion were examined. This knowledge can contribute to guide the design and implementation of further studies to evaluate the effects of specific intervention programs.
Paper I Karin E Isaksson Rø, Tore Gude and Olaf G Aasland. Does a self-referral counselling program reach doctors in need of help? A comparison with the general Norwegian doctor workforce. BMC Public Health 2007: 7;36 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-7-36
Paper II Karin E Isaksson Rø, Tore Gude, Reidar Tyssen, Olaf G Aasland Counselling for burnout in Norwegian doctors: one year cohort study. BMJ 2008: 337; a2004 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a2004
Paper III Karin E Isaksson Rø, Reidar Tyssen, Asle Hoffart, Harold Sexton, Olaf G Aasland, Tore Gude A three-year cohort study of the relationships between coping, job stress, and burnout after a counselling intervention for help-seeking physicians. Submitted (BMC Public Health 2010, 10:213) DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-213http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/213