Carol Peckham


March 27, 2013

In This Article

Burnout's Effects on Public Service and Religiosity


As with pastimes and vacations, in the Medscape survey the proportion of burned-out vs not burned-out physicians matched up closely in the types of volunteer work they did. About 21% of both groups did pro-bono clinical work, 22% of their work was associated with religious organizations, and 14% volunteered in their children's schools. The largest difference between the groups was in not volunteering at all: 31% of the burned-out group and 27% of the non-burned-out group.

Religion and Spirituality

According to a 2008 Pew Report, 88% of Americans believe in God or a universal spirit.[30] In the Medscape poll, instead of asking for specific religious affiliations, we wanted to know whether physicians have a spiritual belief, regardless of active participation. There was no difference in the burnout vs non-burnout groups, but physicians tend to be less religious than the general population. When asked whether they have any religious or spiritual belief, 74% of burned-out physicians and 76% of those not burned out said that they do.

When physicians who claimed to have a religious or spiritual belief were asked whether they actively attended services, a slight difference emerged between the burned-out and non-burned-out groups, with 57% of the burned-out believers attending services vs 62% of their peer believers.