Burnout in medical students: a systematic review of experiences in Chinese medical schools

Wang Michael Chunming, Reema Harrison, Raina MacIntyre, Joanna Travaglia, Chinthaka Balasooriya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: To identify the: extent to which medical students in China experience burnout; factors contributing to this; potential solutions to reduce and prevent burnout in this group; and the extent to which the experiences of Chinese students reflect the international literature.

Methods: Systematic review and narrative synthesis. Key words, synonyms and subject headings were used to search five electronic databases in addition to manual searching of relevant journals. Titles and abstracts of publications between 1st January 1989-31st July 2016 were screened by two reviewers and checked by a third. Full text articles were screened against the eligibility criteria. Data on design, methods and key findings were extracted and synthesised.

Results: Thirty-three studies were eligible and included in the review. Greater levels of burnout were generally identified in males, more senior medical students, and those who already experienced poorer psychological functioning. Few studies explored social or contextual factors influencing burnout, but those that did suggest that factors such as the degree of social support or the living environment surrounding a student may be a determinant of burnout.

Conclusions: Greater understanding of the social and contextual determinants of burnout amongst medical students in China is essential towards identifying solutions to reduce and prevent burnout in this group.
Original languageEnglish
Article number217
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Medical education
  • Burnout
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Depersonalisation


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