More public health service providers are experiencing job burnout than clinical care providers in primary care facilities in China

Shan Lu, Liang Zhang, Niek Klazinga, Dionne Kringos

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Health workers are at high risk of job burnout. Primary care in China has recently expanded its scope of services to a broader range of public health services in addition to clinical care. This study aims to measure the prevalence of burnout and identify its associated factors among clinical care and public health service providers at primary care facilities. Methods: A cross-sectional survey (2018) was conducted among 17,816 clinical care and public health service providers at 701 primary care facilities from six provinces. Burnout was measured by the Chinese version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Scale, and multilevel linear regression analysis was conducted to identify burnout’s association with demographics, as well as occupational and organisational factors. Results: Overall, half of the providers (50.09%) suffered from burnout. Both the presence of burnout and the proportion of severe burnout among public health service providers (58.06% and 5.25%) were higher than among clinical care providers (47.55% and 2.26%, respectively). Similar factors were associated with burnout between clinical care and public health service providers. Younger, male, lower-educated providers and providers with intermediate professional title, permanent contract or higher working hours were related to a higher level of burnout. Organisational environment, such as the presence of a performance-based salary system, affected job burnout. Conclusions: Job burnout is prevalent among different types of primary care providers in China, indicating the need for actions that encompass the entirety of primary care. We recommend strengthening the synergy between clinical care and public health services and transforming the performance-based salary system into a more quality-based system that includes teamwork incentives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number95
JournalHuman resources for health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Burnout
  • Clinical care providers
  • Primary care
  • Public health service providers

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