Original Article

CME Article: Comparison of Sense of Humor and Burnout in Surgeons and Internal Medicine Physicians

Authors: Maya Paran, MD, Arie Sover, PhD, Mickey Dudkiewicz, MD, Ohad Hochman, MD, Galina Goltsman, MD, Yaakov Chen, MD, Karina Zilber, MD, Offer Merin, MD, David Aranovich, MD, Boris Kessel, MD


Objectives: We aimed to evaluate humor styles in surgeons and internists and investigate the association between humor and burnout.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of physicians in surgical and medicine departments was conducted, assessing sense of humor and burnout using the Humor Styles Questionnaire and the Emotional Exhaustion subscale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey for Medical Personnel.

Results: For 131 surgeons and 72 internists, no differences in humor styles were found. A sense of personal accomplishment was more common among surgeons (P = 0.03) and rates of burnout were lower for surgeons (P = 0.02). Physicians with a higher-than-average score in affiliative and self-enhancing humor were less likely to suffer from burnout (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.03, respectively).

Conclusions: Surgeons and internists have similar styles of humor. Surgeons suffer less from burnout. Affiliative and self-enhancing humor styles are associated with reduced burnout.

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