BACKGROUND Concerns have been expressed that staff burnout may make community mental health care difficult to sustain. This study compares stress and job satisfaction between community and hospital-based staff.
METHOD The GHQ-12, the Maslach Burnout Inventory and a job satisfaction measure were used to study 160 Inner London staff.
RESULTS Community staff scored significantly higher on the GHQ-12 and the "emotional exhaustion' component of the Maslach Burnout Inventory than hospital-based in-patient, day care or out-patient staff. Satisfaction did not vary significantly between settings.
CONCLUSIONS These results may be explained in several ways. Community work may be inherently more stressful than hospital work, or may currently be stressful because of inadequate resources, training or supervision. The results may also reflect widespread recent changes in community services or the specific effects of working in a deprived area.