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Female Oncologists Report More Grief Responses, Burnout

For both genders, grief reactions linked to emotional distress among those at high levels of burnout

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MONDAY, Aug. 15, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Female oncologists report more grief responses to patient death, more emotional distress, and more burnout than male oncologists, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in Cancer.

Leeat Granek, Ph.D., from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel, and colleagues examined gender differences in a convenience sample of 178 oncologists from Israel and Canada. The authors examined the effect of grief reactions and burnout on emotional distress within each gender, while controlling for country and past depression.

The researchers found that, compared with male oncologists, female oncologists reported significantly more grief responses to patient death, more emotional distress, and more burnout. Among those who reported high levels of burnout, higher levels of grief reactions correlated with greater emotional distress in both genders (P < 0.001). For men, the correlation between grief reactions and emotional distress was observed at moderate levels of burnout (P < 0.001).

"The findings of the current study highlight the need to take into account the cumulative stressors that oncologists contend with when designing supportive interventions," the authors write. "Gender differences in burnout, reactions to patient death, and emotional distress need to be addressed to ensure the best quality of life for oncologists and the best quality of care for their patients."

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