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Revista Española de Sanidad Penitenciaria

On-line version ISSN 2013-6463Print version ISSN 1575-0620


FRANCO-IDARRAGA, Sandra Milena. What has been written about burnout syndrome in prison officers?. Rev. esp. sanid. penit. [online]. 2022, vol.24, n.3, pp.87-93.  Epub Jan 12, 2023. ISSN 2013-6463.


Working with prison inmates involves constant contact with a stigmatized population, in hostile conditions where the working environment facilitates burnout syndrome among prison workers. The objective of this study is to carry out a bibliographic review to find pioneering and current publications, recognize the authors specializing in the subject and identify the most common findings of their research.

Material and method:

The tree of science (ToS) reference search method was used, which applies an analysis of data networks to find the most relevant scientific articles on a specific topic, in this case burnout syndrome. This tool shows the results in the form of a tree, where the root is formed by the classic publications, the trunk for the ones that have shaped the subject and the leaves are the most recent articles.


We found 140 published documents. The ToS selected 92 articles. The studies contained in the three parts of the ToS were analyzed; some of the determining factors were related to organizational structure, participation in decision-making, satisfaction and commitment to work, and lack of service and programs to help with depression or other mental conditions.


Some factors related to the work that these workers do, combined with the organizational shortages present in prisons, impose stress that leads to burnout syndrome in these employees. To reduce the syndrome, structural changes are needed in the institutions, as well as the strengthening of personal and professional skills and the social integration of prison workers.

Keywords : burnout syndrome; psychological burnout; mental health; occupational health; prisons.

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