Prevalence of burnout among GPs: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Christo Karuna, Victoria Palmer, Anthony Scott, Jane Gunn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Background Burnout is a work-related syndrome documented to have negative consequences for GPs and their patients. Aim To review the existing literature concerning studies published up to December 2020 on the prevalence of burnout among GPs in general practice, and to determine GP burnout estimates worldwide. Design and setting Systematic literature search and meta-analysis. Method Searches of CINAHL Plus, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Scopus were conducted to identify published peer-reviewed quantitative empirical studies in English up to December 2020 that have used the Maslach Burnout Inventory — Human Services Survey to establish the prevalence of burnout in practising GPs (that is, excluding GPs in training). A random-effects model was employed. Results Wide-ranging prevalence estimates (6% to 33%) across different dimensions of burnout were reported for 22 177 GPs across 29 countries were reported for 60 studies included in this review. Mean burnout estimates were: 16.43 for emotional exhaustion; 6.74 for depersonalisation; and 29.28 for personal accomplishment. Subgroup and meta-analyses documented that country-specific factors may be important determinants of the variation in GP burnout estimates. Moderate overall burnout cut-offs were found to be determinants of the variation in moderate overall burnout estimates. Conclusion Moderate to high GP burnout exists worldwide. However, substantial variations in how burnout is characterised and operationalised has resulted in considerable heterogeneity in GP burnout prevalence estimates. This highlights the challenge of developing a uniform approach, and the importance of considering GPs' work context to better characterise burnout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e316-e324
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number718
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • burnout, professional
  • family medicine
  • family physicians
  • family practice
  • general practice
  • general practitioners

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