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Research Article  |   November 1995
Burnout in Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists Working in Head Injury Rehabilitation
Author Affiliations
  • Kathleen C. Schlenz, MS, OTR/L, is Clinical Specialist in Neurological Rehabilitation, Newport Hospital, Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center, Newport, Rhode Island
  • Mark R. Guthrie, PhD, PT, is Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
  • Brian Dudgeon, MS, OTR/L, is Lecturer, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Traumatic Brain Injury / Practice
Research Article   |   November 1995
Burnout in Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists Working in Head Injury Rehabilitation
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 1995, Vol. 49, 986-993. doi:10.5014/ajot.49.10.986
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 1995, Vol. 49, 986-993. doi:10.5014/ajot.49.10.986
Abstract

Objectives. Burnout has been linked to job retention in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and other health professions. Professional development activities are often suggested to reduce burnout, but little empirical evidence supports this contention. This study explored the prevalence of burnout among occupational and physical therapists working in head injury rehabilitation and evaluated the relationship between burnout and professional development activities.

Method. Forty therapists working full-time in head injury rehabilitation were surveyed. Correlations between subscale scores of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (i.e., Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal Accomplishment) and responses to a survey of professional development activities are reported.

Results. Professional development activities are most strongly associated with feelings of personal accomplishment. Emotional exhaustion was relatively high among these therapists, but few feelings of depersonalization were evident.

Conclusions. Professional development activities in the workplace may augment feelings of personal accomplishment and minimize burnout as an issue in job retention. Strategies to effectively identify and manage therapists’ feelings of emotional exhaustion require further study.