Sick leave rates due to mental and behavioural disorders have increased in Sweden during the last decades. The aim of this prospective study was to investigate changes in the level of burnout in a working subset of the general population and to identify how such changes relate to changes in work situation and self-perceived economic situation.
A cohort of 1000 persons from a subset of the 2004 northern Sweden MONICA (Multinational Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease) general population survey was followed over a five-year period (2004-2009). In total, 623 persons (323 women and 300 men) were included in the analysis. Burnout levels were measured at baseline and follow-up using the Shirom Melamed Burnout Questionnaire. Risk factors were assessed at both measuring points.
In the whole study cohort, a small (-0.15) but statistically significant reduction in burnout level was found. No differences in change of burnout were found between men and women. Constant strain at work, an increased risk of unemployment, and a perceived worsening of economic situation during the study time period were related to an increased burnout level. An accumulation of these risk factors was associated with increased burnout level.
Risk factors in work situation and self-perceived economy are related to changes in burnout level, and special attention should be directed towards persons exposed to multiple risk factors.
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