Korean J Med Educ.  2014 Dec;26(4):299-308. 10.3946/kjme.2014.26.4.299.

Academic burnout and selection-optimization-compensation strategy in medical students

  • 1Department of Medical Humanities, Yeungnam University College of Medicine, Daegu, Korea. khchun@yu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Medical Education, Yeungnam University College of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.


This study was conducted to examine the relationship between academic demand, academic burnout, and the selection-optimization-compensation (SOC) strategy in medical students.
A total of 317 students at Yeungnam University, comprising 90 premedical course students, 114 medical course students, and 113 graduate course students, completed a survey that addressed the factors of academic burnout and the selection-optimization-compensation strategy. We analyzed variances of burnout and SOC strategy use by group, and stepwise multiple regression analysis was conducted.
There were significant differences in emotional exhaustion and cynicism between groups and year in school. In the SOC strategy, there were no significant differences between groups except for elective selection. The second-year medical and graduate students experienced significantly greater exhaustion (p<0.001), and first-year premedical students experienced significantly higher cynicism (p<0.001). By multiple regression analysis, subfactors of academic burnout and emotional exhaustion were significantly affected by academic demand (p<0.001), and 46% of the variance was explained. Cynicism was significantly affected by elective selection (p<0.05), and inefficacy was significantly influenced by optimization (p<0.001).
To improve adaptation, prescriptive strategies and preventive support should be implemented with regard to academic burnout in medical school. Longitudinal and qualitative studies on burnout must be conducted.


Academic burnout; Optimization; Compensation; Elective selection; Loss-based selection
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