Burnout in the brain at work

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

Abstract

Long-term exposure to a stressful working environment where demands of the job exceed the resources of the worker may develop into job burnout. It is a major concern in working life, and in Finland, approximately one fourth of working aged people experience symptoms of burnout. Burnout is a psychological syndrome typically characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy. Individuals who experience symptoms of burnout often report decreased sense of efficacy in performing their daily work, as well as difficulties in concentration and memory. To date, however, little is known about the relationship between burnout and cognitive processes in the brain. The present thesis explores how pre-attentive auditory processing, and attentional and cognitive control processes are associated with burnout. As a method, we used scalp recordings of event-related potentials (ERPs) extracted from continuous electroencephalogram (EEG). The participants were 41 volunteers reporting a wide range of burnout symptoms, and 26 control participants. The results showed that burnout is associated with alterations in ERP responses reflecting involuntary attention shift and voluntary task-related processes. More specifically, momentary involuntary capture of attention to emotionally valenced speech sounds is faster for negative, and slower for positive utterances in burnout than in the control group as reflected by divergent P3a latencies even when the burnout symptoms are relatively mild. Burnout is also associated with dysfunctions in cognitive control needed to monitor and update information in working-memory as reflected by a decrease in task-related P3b responses over posterior scalp and increase over frontal areas. Perhaps, in burnout, sustaining a similar performance level as that of the control group might require additional recruitment of anterior regions to compensate the decrement in posterior activity. In addition, orienting of attention towards potentially significant unexpected sounds is ineffective in burnout during working-memory processing as indicated by reduced P3a responses elicited by the distractor sounds. Finally, severe burnout is associated with less accurate performance and inadequate processing when rapid shifting of attention between tasks is required as reflected by smaller P3 responses compared to the mild burnout and control groups. The findings of the present thesis provide new information about dysfunctions in electrophysiological processes related to cognitive control in burnout.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-951-51-3001-3
Electronic ISBNs978-951-51-3002-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fields of Science

  • 515 Psychology

Cite this

Sokka, L. (2017). Burnout in the brain at work. Helsinki: University of Helsinki.
Sokka, Laura. / Burnout in the brain at work. Helsinki : University of Helsinki, 2017. 75 p.
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abstract = "Long-term exposure to a stressful working environment where demands of the job exceed the resources of the worker may develop into job burnout. It is a major concern in working life, and in Finland, approximately one fourth of working aged people experience symptoms of burnout. Burnout is a psychological syndrome typically characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy. Individuals who experience symptoms of burnout often report decreased sense of efficacy in performing their daily work, as well as difficulties in concentration and memory. To date, however, little is known about the relationship between burnout and cognitive processes in the brain. The present thesis explores how pre-attentive auditory processing, and attentional and cognitive control processes are associated with burnout. As a method, we used scalp recordings of event-related potentials (ERPs) extracted from continuous electroencephalogram (EEG). The participants were 41 volunteers reporting a wide range of burnout symptoms, and 26 control participants. The results showed that burnout is associated with alterations in ERP responses reflecting involuntary attention shift and voluntary task-related processes. More specifically, momentary involuntary capture of attention to emotionally valenced speech sounds is faster for negative, and slower for positive utterances in burnout than in the control group as reflected by divergent P3a latencies even when the burnout symptoms are relatively mild. Burnout is also associated with dysfunctions in cognitive control needed to monitor and update information in working-memory as reflected by a decrease in task-related P3b responses over posterior scalp and increase over frontal areas. Perhaps, in burnout, sustaining a similar performance level as that of the control group might require additional recruitment of anterior regions to compensate the decrement in posterior activity. In addition, orienting of attention towards potentially significant unexpected sounds is ineffective in burnout during working-memory processing as indicated by reduced P3a responses elicited by the distractor sounds. Finally, severe burnout is associated with less accurate performance and inadequate processing when rapid shifting of attention between tasks is required as reflected by smaller P3 responses compared to the mild burnout and control groups. The findings of the present thesis provide new information about dysfunctions in electrophysiological processes related to cognitive control in burnout.",
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author = "Laura Sokka",
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Burnout in the brain at work. / Sokka, Laura.

Helsinki : University of Helsinki, 2017. 75 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

TY - THES

T1 - Burnout in the brain at work

AU - Sokka, Laura

N1 - M1 - 75 s. + liitteet Volume: Proceeding volume:

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Long-term exposure to a stressful working environment where demands of the job exceed the resources of the worker may develop into job burnout. It is a major concern in working life, and in Finland, approximately one fourth of working aged people experience symptoms of burnout. Burnout is a psychological syndrome typically characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy. Individuals who experience symptoms of burnout often report decreased sense of efficacy in performing their daily work, as well as difficulties in concentration and memory. To date, however, little is known about the relationship between burnout and cognitive processes in the brain. The present thesis explores how pre-attentive auditory processing, and attentional and cognitive control processes are associated with burnout. As a method, we used scalp recordings of event-related potentials (ERPs) extracted from continuous electroencephalogram (EEG). The participants were 41 volunteers reporting a wide range of burnout symptoms, and 26 control participants. The results showed that burnout is associated with alterations in ERP responses reflecting involuntary attention shift and voluntary task-related processes. More specifically, momentary involuntary capture of attention to emotionally valenced speech sounds is faster for negative, and slower for positive utterances in burnout than in the control group as reflected by divergent P3a latencies even when the burnout symptoms are relatively mild. Burnout is also associated with dysfunctions in cognitive control needed to monitor and update information in working-memory as reflected by a decrease in task-related P3b responses over posterior scalp and increase over frontal areas. Perhaps, in burnout, sustaining a similar performance level as that of the control group might require additional recruitment of anterior regions to compensate the decrement in posterior activity. In addition, orienting of attention towards potentially significant unexpected sounds is ineffective in burnout during working-memory processing as indicated by reduced P3a responses elicited by the distractor sounds. Finally, severe burnout is associated with less accurate performance and inadequate processing when rapid shifting of attention between tasks is required as reflected by smaller P3 responses compared to the mild burnout and control groups. The findings of the present thesis provide new information about dysfunctions in electrophysiological processes related to cognitive control in burnout.

AB - Long-term exposure to a stressful working environment where demands of the job exceed the resources of the worker may develop into job burnout. It is a major concern in working life, and in Finland, approximately one fourth of working aged people experience symptoms of burnout. Burnout is a psychological syndrome typically characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy. Individuals who experience symptoms of burnout often report decreased sense of efficacy in performing their daily work, as well as difficulties in concentration and memory. To date, however, little is known about the relationship between burnout and cognitive processes in the brain. The present thesis explores how pre-attentive auditory processing, and attentional and cognitive control processes are associated with burnout. As a method, we used scalp recordings of event-related potentials (ERPs) extracted from continuous electroencephalogram (EEG). The participants were 41 volunteers reporting a wide range of burnout symptoms, and 26 control participants. The results showed that burnout is associated with alterations in ERP responses reflecting involuntary attention shift and voluntary task-related processes. More specifically, momentary involuntary capture of attention to emotionally valenced speech sounds is faster for negative, and slower for positive utterances in burnout than in the control group as reflected by divergent P3a latencies even when the burnout symptoms are relatively mild. Burnout is also associated with dysfunctions in cognitive control needed to monitor and update information in working-memory as reflected by a decrease in task-related P3b responses over posterior scalp and increase over frontal areas. Perhaps, in burnout, sustaining a similar performance level as that of the control group might require additional recruitment of anterior regions to compensate the decrement in posterior activity. In addition, orienting of attention towards potentially significant unexpected sounds is ineffective in burnout during working-memory processing as indicated by reduced P3a responses elicited by the distractor sounds. Finally, severe burnout is associated with less accurate performance and inadequate processing when rapid shifting of attention between tasks is required as reflected by smaller P3 responses compared to the mild burnout and control groups. The findings of the present thesis provide new information about dysfunctions in electrophysiological processes related to cognitive control in burnout.

KW - Acoustic Stimulation

KW - Attention

KW - +physiology

KW - Auditory Perception

KW - Burnout, Professional

KW - +diagnosis

KW - +epidemiology

KW - +psychology

KW - Brain

KW - Cognition

KW - Emotions

KW - Evoked Potentials

KW - Event-Related Potentials, P300

KW - Fatigue

KW - Speech Perception

KW - Stress, Psychological

KW - +complications

KW - Work

KW - 515 Psychology

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

SN - 978-951-51-3001-3

T3 - Dissertationes Scholae Doctoralis Ad Sanitatem Investigandam Universitatis Helsinkiensis

PB - University of Helsinki

CY - Helsinki

ER -

Sokka L. Burnout in the brain at work. Helsinki: University of Helsinki, 2017. 75 p. (Dissertationes Scholae Doctoralis Ad Sanitatem Investigandam Universitatis Helsinkiensis; 21/2017).