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Take charge: Patients' experiences during participation in a rehabilitation programme for burnout
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The Stress Clinic, University Hospital of Umeå.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy.
2010 (English)In: Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, ISSN 1650-1977, Vol. 42, no 5, 475-481 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of patients with burnout during a rehabilitation programme.

Patients and methods: Eighteen patients with burnout were interviewed at the end of a one-year rehabilitation programme. The programme consisted of 2 groups, one with a focus on cognitively-oriented behavioural rehabilitation and Qigong and 1 with a focus on Qigong alone. The interviews were analysed using the grounded theory method.

Results: One core category, Take Charge, and 6 categories emerged. The core category represents a beneficial recovery process that helped the patients to take control of their lives. The common starting point for the process is presented in the 3 categories of Good encounters, Affirmation and Group cohesiveness. The categories were basic conditions for continuing development during rehabilitation. In the categories Get to know myself, How can I be the one I want to be? and Choice of track, the more group-specific tools are included, through which the patients adopted a new way of behaving.

Conclusion: Patients in both groups experienced group participation as being beneficial for recovery and regaining control of their lives, although in somewhat different way. An experience of affirmation and support from health professionals and group participants is of importance for behavioural change

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 42, no 5, 475-481 p.
Keyword [en]
cognitive therapy, interviews, mind-bofy and relaxation techniques, qigong, qualitative research, stress.
National Category
Nursing Physiotherapy
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-18432ISI: 000278821500010PubMedID: 20544160OAI: diva2:158979
Available from: 2009-02-05 Created: 2009-02-05 Last updated: 2015-10-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Rehabilitation for patients with burnout
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rehabilitation for patients with burnout
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Stress-related diseases and burnout have increased in Sweden during the last decades. In 2006, the most common diagnoses for new cases of sickness compensation were mental and behavioural disorders in both women and men. In spite of the large group of people seeking care for and on long-term sickness absence due to stress-related diseases and burnout, there is no agreement on which treatment they should be offered. The overall aim of this thesis was to describe patients on longterm sick leave because of burnout and to evaluate rehabilitation programs for this patient group.

Two patient samples were recruited from the Stress Clinic at the University Hospital in Umeå, Sweden: REST (Rehabilitation for stressrelated disease and burnout; n=136) and QIST (Qigong for stress-related disease and burnout; n=82). A general population sample was from the 2004 Northern Sweden MONICA survey (n=573). Patients in REST were randomised into a 1-year rehabilitation program to either program A (Cognitively-oriented Behavioural Rehabilitation (CBR) and Qigong), or to program B (Qigong alone). In Paper I, baseline data were compared with data from the MONICA sample. In paper II, programs A and B were compared regarding effects on psychological variables and sick leave rates, and in Paper III, 18 patients from program A and B were interviewed to explore subjective experiences of the rehabilitation programs. Patients in QIST were allocated to an intervention with Qigong twice a week for 12 weeks or a control group. Psychological and physical measurements were assessed in QIST.

Data were collected by questionnaires, physical measurements, the register on sick leave, and interviews.

Patients with burnout reported a more restricted social network and higher work demands than the general population. In relation to women from a general population, women with burnout more often worked “with people”, reported high job strain, a more sedentary work situation and less emotional support.

A per-protocol analysis showed no significant differences in treatment effect between program A and B in REST or between the intervention and control group in QIST. All groups improved significantly over time with reduced levels of burnout, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. In REST, lower scores on obsessive-compulsive symptoms, stress behaviour, and sick leave rates were found in both programs and in QIST both groups increased dynamic balance and physical capacity. In an intention-to-treat analysis, patients in program A in REST had significantly fewer obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and larger effect sizes in stress behaviour and obsessive-compulsive symptoms compared to patients in program B. Patients in both REST programs perceived that the 1-year rehabilitation program gave them specific tools to use in secondary prevention. They also emphasised that the good encounters, affirmation and group cohesiveness they perceived during the 8 rehabilitation was a necessary basis for initiation of a behavioural change leading to recovery.

In conclusion, compared to a general population, patients with burnout perceived more demands at work and less social support. Lack of emotional support seemed to be more associated with burnout among women. There were no differences in effect between CBR and Qigong compared to Qigong alone, or between a 12 week Qigong intervention compared to a control condition. Improvements were found in all groups in the rehabilitation programs. CBR combined with Qigong have some advantages compared to Qigong alone. An environment with good encounters and affirmation of the patients was experiences as important by the patients and group rehabilitation had advantages as recognition and support from the group. Early rehabilitation measures are important to prevent long-term sickness absence. In future rehabilitation programs it might be necessary to have a more individualized approach and choose treatments preferred by the patient.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Arkitektkopia, 2009. 70 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1237
burnout, social support, work demands, population surveillance, epidemiology, randomised controlled trials, cognitive therapy, sick leave, mind-body and relaxation techniques, anxiety, depression, grounded-theory analysis
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-18434 (URN)978-91-7264-711-4 (ISBN)
Yrkes- och miljömedicin, 901 87, Umeå
Public defence
2009-02-27, Sal B plan 9, Tandläkarhögskolan By 1D, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-02-11 Created: 2009-02-05 Last updated: 2012-01-27Bibliographically approved

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