Burnout Compassion Fatigue and Psychological Flexibility

23 de August de 2021

The article "Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Psychological Flexibility among Geriatric Nurses: A Multicenter Study in Spain" has recently been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. A study in which Dr. Carmen Sarabia, head of the nursing research group of IDIVAL, has participated.


This study analyses the relationship between burnout, compassion fatigue and psychological flexibility in geriatric nurses who work in nursing homes. A multicentre study carried out in care centers for older people in Spain, between January and February 2020, pre-pandemic period.


In Spain, the concept of compassion fatigue and psychological flexibility related to stress in geriatric nurses has not been fully explored until now, unlike other international settings.


A cross-sectional online survey was designed and hosted. The questionnaire was sent to 97 care centers for older people belonging to the same religious community, distributed among 51 Spanish cities throughout the country. In total, 291 nurses received the questionnaire. Psychological flexibility was measured using the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire II (AAQ-II), Burnout was measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory MBI Scale and Compassion fatigue was assessed using the Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL).


A total of 281 nurses participated (mean age 36.8 years), 91% female and with an average of 7.6 years working. The results obtained were that the burnout rate obtained was medium (26.71%), the ProQOL questionnaire indicated medium values for compassion fatigue (40.2%) and high values for the variable assessing satisfaction with care (70.3%) and for the AAQ-II questionnaire, the mean was 37.34%. The correlation was significant and negative for flexibility with burnout and compassion fatigue. Taking psychological flexibility as the independent variable and burnout and compassion fatigue as the dependent variables, ANOVA indicated statistically significant differences.


These results reflect that the geriatric nurses participating in the study suffer from average levels of burnout and compassion fatigue, but also high levels of psychological flexibility, which seems to act as a stress attenuator and a promoter of compassion fatigue. Investing in strategies that develop psychological flexibility in this work setting would therefore contribute to improving the mental health of geriatric nurses.


This is the first study of these characteristics carried out in Spain and it would be interesting to replicate it again in this pandemic period and compare results, given that the field of social and healthcare centres has been the most affected by COVID-19.


Ref. Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Psychological Flexibility among Geriatric Nurses: A Multicenter Study in Spain. Carmen Sarabia-Cobo, Victoria Pérez, Pablo de Lorena, Ángela Fernández-Rodríguez, José Rafael González-López, Julia González-Vaca. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 15;18(14):7560. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18147560.

PMID: 34300009 PMCID: PMC8305508