AccScience Publishing / JCBP / Volume 1 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.36922/jcbp.1013
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE

U-shaped relationship between burnout-related emotional exhaustion and work–family conflict among physicians in China

Junjun Liu1† Qingyuan Wang2† Xiaomin Zhu3† Wenxuan Zhang4 Diwen Shen5 Hailong Yang5 Qiuyun Cao5 Ning Zhang6 Xiangdong Du3*
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1 Department of Psychiatry, Nanjing Meishan Hospital, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China
2 Department of Clinical Medical, The Second Clinical Medical College, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China
3 Department of Psychiatry, Suzhou Guangji Hospital, Affiliated Guangji Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China
4 Department of Psychosomatics and Psychiatry, Zhongda Hospital Affiliated to Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China
5 Department of Clinical Psychology, Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital Clinical College of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China
6 Department of Clinical Psychology, Nanjing Brain Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
Submitted: 29 May 2023 | Accepted: 11 July 2023 | Published: 28 July 2023
© 2023 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ )
Abstract

Work–family conflict (WFC) and burnout-related emotional exhaustion (EE) are essential concerns for employees and organizations. This study examined the relationship between WFC and EE among Chinese physicians. A cross-sectional survey conducted in 2018 included 2530 participants using the WFC scale and the Chinese Maslach Burnout Inventory. The correlation between WFC and EE was calculated using smooth curve fitting and multivariate linear regression analysis. A two-piecewise linear regression model was used to investigate the threshold effect. Interaction and stratified analyses were performed, considering sex, age, education, marital status, hospital information, department, work experience, and title. The fully adjusted linear regression analysis results indicated a positive correlation between WFC and EE (β = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.67 – 0.77, P < 0.001). Smoothing graphs also demonstrated a non-linear link between WFC and EE, with an inflection point around 8.0 for WFC. On the left and right sides of the inflection point, the effect sizes and confidence intervals were −0.61 (−1.17 – −0.05, P = 0.034) and 0.79 (0.74 – 0.85, P < 0.001), respectively. These findings suggested a U-shaped association between WFC and EE among physicians in China, indicating that lower and higher WFC levels may lead to an increased risk of EE.

Keywords
Emotional exhaustion
Work–family conflict
Relationship
Physicians
Funding
Medical Science and Technology Development Foundation, Nanjing Department of Health
Research Special Fund for Public Welfare Industry of Health
Suzhou Gusu Health Talents Scientific Research Project
Key Diagnosis and Treatment Program of Suzhou
Suzhou clinical Medical Center for Mood Disorders
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Conflict of interest
All the authors declare that none of them has a conflicts of interest.
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Journal of Clinical and Basic Psychosomatics, Electronic ISSN: 2972-4414 Published by AccScience Publishing