The prevalence of burnout among psychologists and psychological associates in the state of Texas

Nancy Day Van Morkhoven, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This study investigates the prevalence of burnout among a sample of Texas psychologists and psychological associates as well as differences between the three categories of practitioners within that group (Licensed Psychology Health Care Providers (LPHCP), Licensed Psychologists - Certified Psychologists (LP-CP), Psychological Associates (PA)). The Maslach Burnout Inventory and a questionnaire seeking demographic information was used in this cross-sectional survey. Sample size was 654. A stratified proportionate random sample of Texas Psychologists was drawn. The response rate based on usable returns was 55% (n = 359). General demographic characteristics were determined mainly by frequency distributions. For comparing means of samples, t and multiple range tests were used. A series of one-way and two-way analysis of variance procedures were used to compare subgroup differences in burnout. The universe was representative for the sample and for the three categories of psychologists. Urban subjects were more likely to respond, as were male PAs. Practitioners were as likely male as female, working in an urban area, in their present job eight years, and in the occupation for fifteen. The LPHCP group were older, had been in psychology and at their present job longer, and were more likely to belong to both state and local professional organizations than the other two groups. Males outnumbered females in this group and in LP-CPs. This gender trend was reversed for PAs. Of the total sample, 76% reported high job satisfaction and 77% had high levels of perceived job autonomy. There was no significant difference between the study sample and the mental health norms in emotional exhaustion (EE). Our sample had significantly less feelings of depersonalization (DP) and higher feelings of personal accomplishment (PA). Psychological Associates felt significantly less personal accomplishment than the other groups. Predictors for the total sample indicated younger practitioners and those with low job satisfaction had significantly higher burnout, as did males when compared to their female cohorts. Some types of jobs were more likely to contribute to burnout than others. Membership in their local area professional organization lessened the chances for burnout significantly. Predictors for categories of psychologists indicated that males in the LPHCP and LP-CP groups were at higher risk than females. Further, for LP-CPs low job satisfaction and job autonomy, as well as job sites, were significant. Those in this group who worked as school psychologists were at the highest risk for burnout. Job dissatisfaction was the major predictor of burnout for psychological associates. Practitioners working in state or government agencies, school systems and administrative jobs generally had higher burnout than those on a university faculty or in private practice. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Occupational psychology|Labor relations|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Van Morkhoven, Nancy Day, "The prevalence of burnout among psychologists and psychological associates in the state of Texas" (1997). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9814774.