Assisting With Systematic Reviews Can Be Associated With Job-Related Burnout in Information Professionals
Demetres, M. R., Wright, D. N., & DeRosa, A. P. (2020). Burnout among medical and health sciences information professionals who support systematic reviews: An exploratory study. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 108(1), 89–97. https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2020.665
Objective – This study explored reports of burnout among librarians who assist with systematic review preparation.
Design – Electronic survey (Copenhagen Burnout Inventory).
Setting – The survey was advertised via three email discussion lists based in the United States of America.
Subjects – The study surveyed 198 librarians and information specialists who support the systematic review process. Of these, 166 completed the personal burnout scale, 159 completed the work burnout scale, and 151 completed the client burnout scale.
Methods – The Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) is a validated survey that includes three separate scales: personal burnout, work-related burnout, and client-related burnout. The end of the survey addressed demographics, including questions on the respondents’ involvement with systematic reviews. Survey questions use a 0 to 100 rating scale, with 0 indicating Never/To a Low Degree and 100 indicating Always/To a High Degree. The researchers shared the survey to the email discussion lists MEDLIB-L and DOCLINE and advertised it on the Medical Library Association (MLA) News. Survey answers were collected using Qualtrics Survey Software. Once emailed, the survey remained open for one month. Data was coded in Excel and analysis included scoring following the CBI metrics, as well as TukeyHSD and Kruskal-Wallis tests to determine differences in demographic groups.
Main Results – Reported burnout levels were significantly lower for those who spend more than 80% of their time helping with systematic reviews compared to those who spend less than 10%. The consistent use of a systematic review support tool was also associated with significantly lower burnout levels. Other comparisons were not significant. The average overall response score for personal burnout was 48.6. The average score for work-related burnout was 46.4 and the average score for client-related burnout was 32.5. Reference librarians reported the highest average total burnout scores (47.1), while research librarians had the lowest (37.7).
Conclusion – Consistency, either in time spent dedicated to systematic reviews or in the use of a support tool, was associated with lower levels of burnout among librarians and information specialists. The authors suggest that these results could inform ways of improving burnout among those assisting with systematic reviews.
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