Occupational burnout and work engagement: a national survey of dentists in the United Kingdom

Author(s): Denton DA, Newton JT, Bower EJ

Abstract

Objective: To determine the levels of burnout and work engagement among dentists in the United Kingdom.Study design Postal survey of 500 dentists selected at random from the General Dental Council register.

Methods: Respondents completed a questionnaire pack comprising the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-17) and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS), together with questions on demographic characteristics.

Results: Approximately 8% of respondents had scores suggestive of burnout on all three scales of the MBI-HSS and a further 18.5% had high scores in two of the domains. Eighty-three percent of respondents had work engagement scores suggestive of moderate or high work engagement. Dentists with postgraduate qualifications and those who work in larger teams had lower burnout scores and more positive work engagement scores. Dentists who spend a greater proportion of their time in NHS practice showed lower work engagement and higher levels of burnout.

Conclusions: Burnout affects a small but significant proportion of dental practitioners in the United Kingdom. A larger proportion of practitioners show low work engagement, suggesting a negative attitude to their work. Higher burnout scores and lower work engagement scores were found in dentists without postgraduate qualifications, those in small teams and in those who spend a greater proportion of their time in NHS practice.

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