Alexithymia and Its Relationships with Job Burnout, Personality Traits, and shift work among Hospital Nurses: A Cross‑Sectional Study

Document Type : Original Article



Background: Due to the characteristics of their work, nurses experience high levels of stress and burnout. Alexithymia (defined as the inability to identify and express emotions) and personality traits can be risk factors for burnout. However, there is limited information about the relationships of alexithymia and personality traits with job burnout among Iranian nurses. Objective: This study examined the relationships between alexithymia, personality traits, job burnout, and shift work among hospital nurses in Iran. Methods: This cross‑sectional study was conducted in 2017 on a random sample of 225 nurses recruited from 10 hospitals affiliated to Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran. Data collection instruments were the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness Five‑Factor Inventory, and a demographic questionnaire. Pearson’s correlation analysis, independent‑samples t‑test, one‑way analysis of variance, and multiple linear regression analysis were used for data analysis. Results: The mean scores of alexithymia and burnout were 56.78 ± 8.64 and 49.78 ± 13.67, respectively, and these two variables were significantly correlated (r = 0.258; P < 0.001). Alexithymia also had significant relationships with gender (P = 0.035), employment status (P = 0.045), and personality trait (P < 0.01) but had no significant relationship with shift schedule (P > 0.05). Conclusion: Nurses with higher levels of alexithymia are more at risk for burnout. As alexithymia has significant relationships with gender and employment status, interventions are needed, especially for women, to alleviate their alexithymia and burnout