Cognitive Functioning in non-clinical Burnout: Using cognitive tasks to disentangle the relationship in a three-wave longitudinal study

Panagiota Koutsimani, Anthony Montgomery*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Burnout is often characterized by cognitive deficits and it has been associated with depression and anxiety. However, it is not clear whether cognitive impairment is a burnout consequence or employees with poor cognitive skills are more prone in developing burnout. Moreover, the exact nature of the association between burnout and depression, and burnout and anxiety is still unknown. Depression and anxiety are also related to cognitive impairments but their prospective associations are not fully understood. The aim of the present three-wave longitudinal study was to investigate the causality between cognitive functioning, burnout, depression and anxiety among non-clinical burnout employees. The cause-effect associations of burnout with depression and anxiety were also explored. Perceived family support as a protective factor against cognitive decline, burnout, depression and anxiety was examined as well. A wide range of cognitive tasks tapping different cognitive domains were administered to employees of the general working population. Burnout, depression, anxiety and perceived family support were assessed with self-reported questionnaires. Present results suggest that visuospatial functioning deficits are a burnout consequence and they indicate the role of automatic processing skills and executive functions in burnout onset. Additionally, these findings support that burnout is differentiated from depression and anxiety but it is reciprocally associated with the two psychological phenomena. Lastly, current results support the inclusion of perceived family support as an intervention to help individuals who suffer from mental health and cognitive difficulties.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Aug 2022

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