Burnout and perceived social support: The mediating role of secondary traumatization in nurses vs. physicians

Liat Hamama*, Yaira Hamama-Raz, Yaffa N. Stokar, Ruth Pat-Horenczyk, Danny Brom, Efrat Bron-Harlev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Aims: The study aimed to examine differences between paediatric nurses and physicians regarding burnout syndrome, secondary traumatic stress (STS) and perceived social support (PSS). Background: Paediatric nurses and physicians encounter cumulative effects of treating sick and injured children and helping their families, in situations that might promote burnout and STS. Design: Cross-sectional design. Method: Nurses (n = 158) and physicians (N = 76) completed self-report questionnaires on STS, PSS and burnout. Results: Nurses and physicians had similar rates of STS and burnout but showed significant differences in PSS. Furthermore, STS mediated the association between PSS and burnout for both groups; however, the effect was stronger for nurses in comparison to physicians. Conclusion: Paediatric nurses and physicians would benefit from participating in interventions geared towards reducing STS, thus minimizing burnout. Moreover, advocating social support within the organization is needed to bolster the ability for coping with sources of stress. Impact statement: Nurses' and physicians' involvement in the physical, physiological and mental needs of their paediatric patients might lead to burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS). However, research on social support in the context of burnout and STS among nurses and physicians is scant. Secondary traumatic stress and burnout were similar for nurses and physicians, though perceived social support (PSS) was higher for nurses. Secondary traumatic stress plays a mediating role in the association between PSS and burnout among nurses and physicians. However, the mediation effect was stronger for nurses. Policy makers would be wise to advocate institutional stress management interventions to reduce secondary traumatic and to reinforce organizational support for nurses and physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2742-2752
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding information This research received no specific grant from any funding agency. The authors thank the International Trauma Healing Institute (ITI) and Dr. Cathy Lawi for their support in carrying out the research, Mr. Guy Freedman for his statistical consultation, and the IDC Center for Statistical Consulting.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • burnout
  • paediatric nurses
  • paediatric physicians
  • perceived social support
  • secondary traumatic stress


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