Psychiatry Investig.  2020 Sep;17(9):951-959. 10.30773/pi.2020.0147.

Burnout as a Mediator in the Relationship between Work-Life Balance and Empathy in Healthcare Professionals

  • 1Public Health Medical Service, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 3Human Rights Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 5Yeongeon Student Support Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea


This cross-sectional study aimed to 1) explore the relationships among work-life balance (WLB), burnout, and empathy and 2) investigate the roles of the subtypes of burnout relating to WLB and empathy.
A total of 105 health care professionals from a general hospital in Seoul were assessed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory, Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy, and a one-sentence-question on subjective WLB. Multiple questions on psychiatric problems, including sleep problems, anxiety, depressive symptom, and alcohol problems, were also included.
In the mediation analyses, personal achievement was considered as a potential mediating variable between WLB and empathy. The direct effect (β=3.93, 95% CI: 1.21–6.64) and the indirect effect (β=1.95, 95% CI: 0.52–3.76) of WLB on empathy were also significant.
Interventions encouraging personal achievement may help mitigate burnout of health professionals.


Work-life balance, Burnout, Empathy, Healthcare professionals
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