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dc.contributor.advisorCarlyle, Dave
dc.contributor.advisorPorter, Richard
dc.contributor.advisorFrampton, Chris
dc.contributor.advisorGalvin, Sue
dc.contributor.authorKennedy, Barry
dc.identifier.citationKennedy, B. (2013). The Relationships Between Empathy and Burnout in Nurses (Thesis, Master of Health Sciences). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractEmpathy is essential in nursing, yet it remains difficult to define and measure and many nurses do not display empathy even if they possess it. Studies linking empathy and burnout are few, but the results generally favour the view that empathy is negatively correlated with burnout. Using a fully quantitative and anonymous self-report questionnaire, this research adds to the existing knowledge about empathy and burnout in registered nurses. The research question was: What relationships exist between empathy and burnout in nurses? Validated and reliable measures were used in a survey of nurses working in two hospitals in April and May of 2012. Analyses were conducted using bivariate correlations, group comparisons, analysis of variance and multiple regression. This research was not part of any other study. Empathy levels in the sample were significantly lower than the normative mean; depression, anxiety, and stress levels were within normal ranges; burnout factors were lower than their normative means. Nurses surveyed were still experiencing negative emotional effects and, to a lesser extent, positive emotional effects of the earthquakes and aftershocks of the preceding 18 months. Common life stresses such as financial problems, relationship difficulties and bereavement had more emotional impact than earthquake-related effects. Six per cent of the sample composed a high burnout group and 15% composed a low (or no) burnout group. Empathy was highest in the low burnout group and lowest in the high burnout group. Nurses working in acute nursing areas showed diminished empathy levels and increased burnout. Being a parent was a significant protective factor against burnout. Empathy and burnout were negatively correlated with age and experience. The optimum balance of high empathy and low burnout was apparent in nurses aged in their forties. Nurses’ experience of being a patient did not increase their mean empathy level. The notion of emotional contagion is supported, both in terms of empathy contagion and burnout contagion. Further cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of nurse empathy and burnout are recommended.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.titleThe Relationships Between Empathy and Burnout in Nurses
dc.language.rfc3066en of Psychological Medicine of Health Sciences of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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