Research Article
Issue Date: December 1988
Published Online: December 01, 1988
Updated: April 30, 2020
Burnout in Occupational Therapists
Author Affiliations
  • Joan C. Rogers, PhD, OTR, is Professor of Occupational Therapy, Geriatric Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurology Module, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
  • Susan C. Dodson, MS, OTR, is a staff occupational therapist, John Umstead Hospital, Butner, North Carolina
Article Information
Research Article   |   December 01, 1988
Burnout in Occupational Therapists
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 1988, Vol. 42, 787-792.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 1988, Vol. 42, 787-792.
This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.

Burnout is a job-related condition involving feelings of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1981a) is the instrument most widely used to measure job-related stress in human service professions, such as occupational therapy. This study explored the application of the Maslach Burnout Inventory for use with occupational therapists. The subjects were 99 registered occupational therapists residing in the southeastern United States. Mean scores lower than the aggregate occupational norms provided by the test’s authors on the Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization subscales supported the need to develop specific norms for occupational therapists. Results of this study indicate that use of the aggregate norms would underestimate the level of experienced burnout. Correlational analyses delineated significant relationships between age and Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization, education and Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization, years of work as an occupational therapist and Depersonalization and Personal Accomplishment, years in the present position and Personal Accomplishment (intensity only), hours of direct patient contact and Emotional Exhaustion (intensity only), and hours of direct patient contact and Depersonalization (frequency only). These correlates of burnout furnish clues for understanding the development of work-related stress in occupational therapists.