Introduction Burnout among healthcare professionals is one of the key challenges affecting health care practice and quality of care. This systematic review aims:
estimate the prevalence of burnout among health care professionals (HCP) in Arab countries; and
explore individual and work-related factors associated with burnout in this population.
Methods Multiple electronic databases were searched for studies published in English or Arabic from January 1980 to November 2014 assessing burnout (using the Maslach Burnout Inventory; MBI) amongst health care professionals (HCP) in Arab countries.
Results Nineteen studies (n=4108; 49.3% females) conducted on HCP in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Yemen were included in this review. There was a wide range of prevalence estimates for the three MBI subscales, high Emotional Exhaustion (20.0%–81.0%), high Depersonalization (9.2%–80.0%), and low Personal Accomplishment (13.3%–85.8%). Gender, nationality, service duration, working hours, and shift patterns were all significantly associated with burnout.
Conclusion Within the constraints of the study and the range of quality papers available, our review revealed moderate-to-high estimates of self-reported burnout among HCP in Arab countries that are similar to rates in non-Arabic speaking westernised developed countries. In order to develop culturally appropriate interventions, further research using longitudinal designs is needed to confirm the risk factors for burnout in specific HCP settings and specialties in Arab countries.