Professional and social demands in today’s hectic society can easily lead to burnout. And although it is gender-neutral, the expanding role and importance of women in society has led researchers to investigate the psychological impact of burnout on middle-aged women.

New research suggests burnout in women may take many forms, a finding contrary to the belief that burnout in women stabilizes over time.

Experts say emotional exhaustion and physical and cognitive fatigue are both signs of burnout. These symptoms are often caused by prolonged exposure to stress. Burnout can cause poor sleep, depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular and immune disorders.

Authors Annika Evolahti, Ph.D., Daniel Hultell, Ph.D., and Aila Collins, Ph.D., discuss the findings from a nine-year study in a new article published in the Journal of Women’s Health.

They discovered some middle-aged women had high levels of burnout followed by recovery, whereas others had increasing, decreasing, or stable levels over the research period.

Researchers discovered the recovery patterns were related to changes in work and other types of stress in the women’s lives, including individual personality factors.

“This important study expands our understanding of burnout in working women, in terms of both patterns of development and relation to various stressors and individual factors,” said Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., editor-in-chief of Journal of Women’s Health.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert