Recovery experience and burnout in cancer workers in Queensland

Poulsen, Michael G., Poulsen, Anne A., Khan, Asaduzzaman, Poulsen, Emma E. and Khan, Shanchita R. (2015) Recovery experience and burnout in cancer workers in Queensland. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 19 1: 23-28. doi:10.1016/j.ejon.2014.08.003

Author Poulsen, Michael G.
Poulsen, Anne A.
Khan, Asaduzzaman
Poulsen, Emma E.
Khan, Shanchita R.
Title Recovery experience and burnout in cancer workers in Queensland
Journal name European Journal of Oncology Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1532-2122
Publication date 2015-02
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ejon.2014.08.003
Open Access Status
Volume 19
Issue 1
Start page 23
End page 28
Total pages 6
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Churchill Livingstone
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract

Two key recovery experiences mediating the relationship between work demands and well-being are psychological detachment and relaxation over leisure time. The process of recovery from work-related stress plays an important role in maintaining well-being, but is poorly understood in cancer workers. The aim of this exploratory study was to examine the relationships of burnout, psychological well-being and work engagement with the recovery experiences of psychological detachment and relaxation in oncology staff.


A cross sectional survey of 573 cancer workers in Queensland was conducted (response rate 56%). Oncology nurses (n = 211) represented the largest professional group. Staff completed surveys containing demographics and psychosocial questionnaires measuring burnout, psychological distress, work engagement and recovery experience. Multiple regression analyses were performed to identify explanatory variables which were independently associated with Recovery Experience Score (RES).


There was a negative association between the RES and burnout (p = 0.002) as well as psychological distress (p < 0.0001), but not work engagement. Age >25 years was negatively correlated with RES as was having a post graduate qualification, being married or divorced, having carer commitments. Participating in strenuous exercise was associated with high recovery (p = 0.015).


The two recovery experiences of psychological detachment and relaxation had a strong negative association to burnout and psychological well-being, but not work engagement. Further research needs to be undertaken to better understand if improving recovery experience reduces burnout and improves the well-being of cancer workers.
Keyword Burnout
Health professionals
Recovery experience
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 13 Sep 2014

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