Well-being of physicians who work in oncology unit and in BMT unit: analysis of protective factors from work stress

Alba Civilleri, Valentina Lo Cascio, Francesco Pace, Elena Foddai, Francesca Paola Guadagna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Recently a great deal of attention has been given on doctors' work related stress and possibility of improving their quality of life. Several studies report that oncologists are overloaded psychologically. Contact with serious diseases, excessive working pressure, structural weaknesses, are some of the factors that predispose oncologists to stress. In 2008, at the ASPHO annual meeting, pediatric hematologists/oncologists noted burnout (considered as a result of protracted stress at work) was a significant challenge in their lives. To date, no studies have extensively ruled out on protective factors from work stress among pediatric oncologists.Aims. Our research investigates the relationship between Work Stress, Work Engagement and Personal Well-being in a sample of doctors working in Italian hospitals. Specifically, the study investigates whether Organizational Support, Self-efficacy Perceived, adaptive Coping styles and specific training on social and relational skills mediate between Work Stress, Personal Well-being and Work Engagement. In addition, it investigates the differences between oncologists, pediatricians and other kind of physician.Materials and Methods. The research included 176 physicians (M=89; F=83; MS=4) working in Italian healthcare units of oncology and onco-haematology; 15 of them work in pediatric unit. Doctors filled self-report questionnaires to evaluate Work Stress and Coping Strategies (Health Professions Stress and Coping Scale), Personal Well-being (General Health Questionnaire), Work Engagement (Utrecht Work Engagement Scale) and two purpose-built scales to measure the degree of perceived Organizational Support and the level of specific training on social and relational skills.Result.. It was found negative and significant correlations between the scores of the scales that measure the use of adaptive coping strategies and stress levels. Moreover, physicians who obtained higher levels of specific training on social and relational skills reported lower levels of stress. Finally, it was highlighted significant differences between pediatricians and other physicians, especially on the use of adaptive coping strategies.Conclusions. Our results seem to confirm that well-being of physicians is mediated by typical aspects of the profession, such as social skills in relationship with patients.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
JournalBone Marrow Transplantation
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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