A career counseling program for dentists: effects on burnout

Author(s): Gorter RC, Eijkman MA, Hoogstraten J


The effects on burnout of a career counseling program were measured among general dental practitioners. Out of a group of 171 dentists, identified with unfavorable scores on the Maslach Burnout Inventory - Dutch version (MBI-NL), nineteen chose to participate in the program. It consisted of individual counseling and group sessions, using cognitive and behavioral intervention techniques, over a 6-month period. One month after the last session, both program participants (N=17) and invited, but not participating, dentists (N=66) again filled in the MBI-NL. Comparison of participants' pre- and post-test scores showed significant statistical improvement on the MBI-NL scales emotional exhaustion (EE), and personal accomplishment (PA). Among the control group, a distinction was made between dentists who had self-initiated preventive measures (N=35) and those who had not (N=31). Self-prevention also appeared to have an effect on EE and PA. Among dentists who reported not to have undertaken preventive action, no change in burnout levels was found. With reservations, it can be concluded that the prevention program does have a positive effect on burnout scores among dentists, while different forms of self-initiated prevention activities also appeared to be effective.

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