The aim of this study was to ascertain the prevalence of burnout in Kazakhstan firefighters with regard to position and to identify predictors of faster burnout in order to plan future preventive strategies.
Data on demographics, lifestyle, fatigue (Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS)), SF-8 health-related quality of life (HRQL) and Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) emotional exhaustion (EX), cynicism (CY) and professional efficacy (PE) were obtained from 604 (94% men, median age 27 (interquartile range (IQR) 12) years) firefighters from all 18 fire departments of the city of Almaty. Associations between predictors and burnout EX, CY and PE dimensions were tested using multivariate logistic regression analyses.
Burnout scores were low in this sample, including EX (0.6; IQR 1.55), CY (1.2; IQR 1.8) and PE (4.8; IQR 2.4). The highest median EX score (1.5 (IQR 2.0)) was in managers as opposed to the lowest in drivers (0.4 (IQR 1.4)), (p < 0.01). The greatest CY difference was between managers (2.1 (IQR 2.2)) and trainees (0.4 (IQR 1.1)) (p < 0.001). Age, work duration, education or fatigue were not associated with EX or CY in adjusted models. Better HRQL predicted lower EX and CY burnout, whereas alcohol never-use and language barrier predicted high CY. Male sex and no university degree predicted high PE burnout.
Firefighting managers are at risk for higher burnout, irrespective of age and work duration, and the targeted intervention to combat burnout should include better uniform, mitigation of language barrier, general health improvement and less alcohol.