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Mental fatigue, cognitive performance and autonomic response following sustained mental activity in clinical burnout
Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Health, Learning and Technology, Health, Medicine and Rehabilitation. Luleå University of Technology, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts. Department of Social and Psychological studies, Karlstad University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3450-8067
Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Department of Statistics, Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics, Umeå University, Sweden.
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2023 (English)In: Biological Psychology, ISSN 0301-0511, E-ISSN 1873-6246, Vol. 183, article id 108661Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective

To investigate the effects of sustained mental activity on perceptions of mental fatigue, cognitive performance, and autonomic response in patients with clinical burnout as compared to a healthy control group.

Methods

Patients with clinical burnout (n = 30) and healthy control participants (n = 30) completed a 3-hour test session, in which they were administered a set of cognitive tests before and after an effortful cognitive task with concurrent sound exposure. Perceptions of mental fatigue and task demands (mental effort and concentration difficulties) were assessed repeatedly over the course of the test session. Heart rate variability was recorded to index autonomic response.

Results

In comparison with controls, perceived mental fatigue increased earlier in the session for the clinical burnout group and did not recover following a short rest period. Throughout the session, patients rated the tasks as more demanding and showed less improvement on measures of attention and processing speed, inhibition and working memory. While autonomic responses were initially comparable, there was a unique decrease in high-frequency heart rate variability in the clinical burnout group after extended testing and exposure.

Conclusion

Patients with clinical burnout are affected differently than healthy controls by sustained mental activity, as reflected by ratings of perceived mental fatigue, aspects of cognitive performance and autonomic response. Further investigation into the role of autonomic regulation in relation to cognitive symptoms in clinical burnout is warranted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier B.V. , 2023. Vol. 183, article id 108661
Keywords [en]
Burnout, Cognition, Exhaustion disorder, Heart rate variability, Mental fatigue
National Category
Psychiatry
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-101254DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2023.108661ISI: 001067177400001PubMedID: 37598882Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85168840567OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-101254DiVA, id: diva2:1795162
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2020–01111
Note

Validerad;2023;Nivå 2;2023-09-07 (joosat);

CC BY 4.0 License

Available from: 2023-09-07 Created: 2023-09-07 Last updated: 2024-03-07Bibliographically approved

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Neely, Anna Stigsdotter

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