CDU Researchers Publish Systematic Review of Potential Model for Reducing Physician Burnout
Researchers at Charles R. Drew University have published findings of a systematic review assessing the utility of PERMA in reducing physician burnout and improving their well-being. The paper, published in the open access journal BMC Medical Education, finds that the majority of the studies included in the review reported some level of positive outcome regarding reducing burnout or improving well-being by using a physician or a system-directed intervention.
“Contribution of a positive psychology-based conceptual framework in reducing physician burnout and improving well-being: A systematic review” was authored by 10 researchers, six of which were affiliated with CDU. The lead author and primary investigator for the project was Dr. Shahrzad Bazargan‑Hejazi, Professor of Medical Sociology in the CDU’s Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine.
The PERMA Model represents five core elements (Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments) which, the model suggests, are what people need in order to achieve a healthy sense of well-being, fulfillment, and satisfaction in life.
The value of PERMA as a conceptual framework to reduce physician burnout or improve physician well-being had not previously been systematically evaluated. To address this gap, the researchers conducted a systematic review of relevant prior research to characterize the contribution and outcome of the PERMA conceptual framework in interventional studies aiming to improve physician well-being.
“Physician mental health burnout is a public health problem in the United States,” warns the authors in the paper. “Physician burnout is associated with negative consequences, such as physician-reported error, medication error, suicide, substance abuse, physician turnover, and reduced health outcome, among the others.”
The research team identified 21 prior studies that met final inclusion for the review. The included studies represented eight countries, with the majority conducted in the US, followed by Spain and Australia. They found the majority of the studies reported some level of positive outcome regarding reducing burnout or improving well-being, showing that the PERMA model may indeed hold some promise for physicians.
“Our findings may benefit in the aim of developing interventions targeted to reduce burnout and improve well-being among physicians,” concludes the authors.