Date Presented 04/22/2023

Higher burnout was associated with less satisfaction with salary and lower supervisor support. Salary and supervisor support represent two structural factors that may improve burnout among OT practitioners.

Primary Author and Speaker: Molly A. McCarthy

Additional Authors and Speakers: Julia Shin

Reducing burnout among clinicians is important for improving the healthcare experiences of clients (Salyers et al., 2017). Among occupational therapy practitioners, burnout is associated with negative outcomes such as lower creativity and worse problem solving (Derakhshanrada et al., 2019). Recent research has not addressed burnout among OT practitioners beyond one geographic area or practice setting. This study assessed the extent and predictors of burnout among OT clinicians working in clinical settings across the United States. An anonymous online survey measured burnout, workplace- and education-related variables, and sociodemographic variables. Burnout was measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS), which has three dimensions: emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DE), and personal accomplishment (PA). Univariate results are reported along with results from multivariable multivariate linear regression. OT practitioners in this study (N=178) reported average MBI-HSS scores as follows: the mean EE scores was 26 (SD=12), meaning on average, they reported feeling emotionally exhausted a few times per month; the mean DE score was 7 (SD=6), which meant that participants felt a sense of depersonalization less than monthly, and the mean PA score was 39 (SD=6), meaning they felt personal accomplishment almost a few times per week. Results from the multivariate multivariable regression showed that support from a supervisor (p<0.01), income satisfaction (p=0.002), and higher educational attainment (p=0.005) were important predictors for EE, DE, and PA. The findings of this study suggest for occupational therapy practice and policy that strategies to reduce burnout among OT practitioners in workplaces may include developing supportive workplace cultures among employers and increasing wages. In addition, salary negotiation skills may aid occupational therapy practitioners on the job market. Such efforts may protect the occupational therapy workforce from burnout.


Salyers, M. P., Bonfils, K. A., Luther, L., Firmin, R. L., White, D. A., Adams, E. L., & Rollins, A. L. (2017). The relationship between professional burnout and quality and safety in healthcare: a meta-analysis. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 32(4), 475-482.

Derakhshanrad, S. A., Piven, E., & Zeynalzadeh Ghoochani, B. (2019). The relationships between problem-solving, creativity, and job burnout in Iranian occupational therapists. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 33(4), 365-380.