Burnout and stress-related factors among junior staff of three dental hospital specialties

Author(s): Humphris G, Lilley J, Kaney S, Broomfield D


Objective: To determine whether occupational stress, health status, job satisfaction and burnout differed between the three major hospital dental specialties, and to compare this data with previous studies.

Design: A cross-sectional survey.

Setting: The regional dental teaching hospital and outlying hospital units in Merseyside in 1993.

Subjects and methods: All 52 junior hospital dentists in the Merseyside area were invited to complete a self-report questionnaire to be returned by post. Up to three reminders were sent. 42 staff replied (81% response rate).

Main outcome measures: Occupational Stress Indicator, Maslach Burnout Inventory.

Results: The profile of stressors was comparable to a previously reported sample of hospital dentists. Job satisfaction varied significantly across specialties (P < 0.015) whereas personal achievement was reported to be strong regardless of the nature of work. Self-reported health (physical and mental) was similar across specialties. 10% of respondents were suffering burnout. Depersonalisation (a result of extended and demanding contacts with patients) was significantly (P < 0.05) greater in restorative and oral surgery specialties in comparison with orthodontists.

Conclusions: Although short-term stressors among hospital dental staff were not different between occupational groups, some important longer term effects were identified.

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