Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
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Work Environment Evaluation Instrument (WEEI): development, validation, and association with burnout

Carneiro Monteiro, Gabriela Massaro; Baeza, Fernanda Lucia Capitanio; Hauck, Simone

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Introduction: Physician burnout is considered an epidemic. In 2019, 44% of U.S. physicians reported feeling burned out. The work environment is a central risk factor for this. The aim of this study is to develop and test an instrument to evaluate work environment factors in medical training courses. Method: After focus groups, an initial pool of 14 items was generated and tested in a pilot study (n = 66). Face validity was verified, and small adjustments were made. The resulting version was administered to a sample of 115 psychiatry residents. Eleven items were selected based on the correlations between them, principal component analysis, and theoretical reasons, and then tested for internal and construct validity. Results: The final version had high reliability (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.898) and comprised three dimensions: relations with the institution; with colleagues; and with preceptors. Both total scores and dimensions correlated significantly with burnout scores (p < 0.01). Cutoffs defining the environment as healthy (>32 points); risky (23-31 points); or toxic (<22 points) were suggested and related to the risk of burnout. Conclusion: Several authors have emphasized the importance of approaching institutional factors as an effective strategy for coping with the increased prevalence of burnout. This instrument should contribute to these efforts.


Burnout, medical education, validation studies, stress disorders, environment.
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