Impact of Student Perceptions of the Educational Program on Burnout in Medical School


Journal Article

© 2019, International Association of Medical Science Educators. Introduction: Burnout is considered to be at the opposite end of the continuum from engagement. People who experience burnout first go through various intermediate patterns that lead to burnout, which in medical students is associated with reduced empathy, intention to leave school, and suicidal ideation. Thus, understanding how to mitigate burnout is of primary importance. In this study, we investigate if students’ positive perceptions of the educational program’s alignment with adult education principles decreased symptoms suggestive of typical patterns of intermediate burnout. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey study of all currently enrolled Duke-NUS Medical School students in Singapore (n = 238). An electronic questionnaire contained demographic questions and additional measures for factors known to be associated with burnout, including depression, anxiety, social support, and workload. In addition, we measured students’ perceptions of how well the educational program aligned with adult learning principles by using a modified version of the Andragogical Practices Inventory (API) to suit medical education. An intermediate pattern of burnout was measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). Using logistic regression, we then assessed the unique association between the presence of an intermediate pattern of burnout with students’ perceptions of the educational program’s alignment with adult learning principles. Results: The survey response rate was 52%. Overall, 76% (95% CI 67–84%) displayed symptoms suggestive of an intermediate pattern of burnout. Perceptions of the educational program’s alignment with adult learning principles were found to be inversely related to the pattern of burnout after controlling for depression, anxiety, and subjective workload. Discussion and Conclusion: Though adult learning theory is the subject of rich debate, the results of this study suggest that promoting educational activities that are aligned with adult learning principles may help to ultimately reduce the risk of burnout in medical school students.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sanchez, DJ; Strauman, TJ; Compton, S

Published Date

  • January 1, 2019

Published In

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2156-8650

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s40670-019-00812-3

Citation Source

  • Scopus