A cross-sectional study of psychological distress, burnout, and the associated risk factors in hospital pharmacists in Japan

Yuji Higuchi, Masatoshi Inagaki, Toshihiro Koyama, Yoshihisa Kitamura, Toshiaki Sendo, Maiko Fujimori, Yosuke Uchitomi, Norihito Yamada

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Background: Opportunities for face-to-face communication with patients is increasing in modern hospital pharmacist practice. This may impose new burdens on hospital pharmacists. We performed a cross-sectional study to examine the prevalence of psychological distress, burnout, and compassion fatigue among hospital pharmacists. We also investigated possible relevant factors, such as sex, years of experience, hospital size, interpersonal work hours, and personality traits related to communication. Methods: We mailed self-administered questionnaires to all pharmacists (n = 823) belonging to the prefectural society of hospital pharmacists in Japan. The questionnaires were the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), Burnout (BO) and Compassion Fatigue and Secondary Traumatic Stress (CF/STS) subscales of the Professional Quality of Life Scale, the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), and the Adult ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) Self-Report Scale (ASRS). We examined associations between personality traits (AQ, ASRS) and psychological burden (GHQ-12, BO, CF/STS) using rank ANCOVA or multivariate logistic regression analyses. Results: Complete responses were obtained from 380 pharmacists (46.2 % response rate). A substantial number of participants obtained scores that were higher than the cutoff points of the GHQ-12 (54.7 %), BO (49.2 %), and CF/STS (29.2 %). The GHQ-12 scores were negatively affected by years of experience (p < 0.001), and positively affected by AQ (p < 0.001) and ASRS (p < 0.001) scores. The BO scores was positively affected by AQ (p < 0.001) and ASRS (p = 0.001) scores, while the CF/STS (p = 0.023) score was negatively affected by years of experience, and positively affected by AQ (p < 0.001) and ASRS (p < 0.001) scores. Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of psychological distress and work-related burnout/CF among hospital pharmacists. Additionally, two common personality traits, such as autistic-like traits and ADHD-like symptoms, which might be related to communication style, could increase the risk of psychological distress and burnout/CF. Early risk assessment and preventive interventions that are specialized for these characteristics could protect individuals with these specific traits from burnout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Burnout
  • Compassion fatigue
  • Hospital pharmacist
  • Japan
  • Pharmaceutical care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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