Dimou et al. (2016) concluded that >50% of surgeons experience burnout. For three reasons, we think that such conclusions are unwarranted. First, there are no consensual or binding diagnostic criteria for burnout. Second, recent research (e.g., Bianchi, Schonfeld, & Laurent, 2015) suggests that burnout is actually a depressive syndrome. Finally, we note that researchers’ recommendations about stress-reducing organizational changes often remain incantatory because they insufficiently consider the economic issues and macrosocial power relationships that can hamper the recommendations’ implementation. Current practices in burnout research have led to an accumulation of results, the clinical meaning of which is obscure.
Bianchi, R., Schonfeld, I.S., & Laurent, E. (2016). On the dead end of current research on burnout's prevalence. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 223, 424-425. doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2016.05.012