Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Burnout, Professional; Physical Therapy -- manpower


Burnout is a serious concern in today's world, especially in the educational setting. Burnout not only affects the individual physically and emotionally, but it can also affect the work place. More specifically it can lead to increased absenteeism, job turnover, and other work associated withdrawal behaviors. Furthermore, burnout has the potential of affecting many other people above and beyond that individual who is burned out.

At this time, new physical therapy programs continue to be developed across the United States, although there is already a limited number of faculty in the physical therapy field. Therefore, due to the physical therapy faculty shortage, it is essential that the physical therapy programs retain as many faculty members as possible. Although many have researched the concept of burnout in a variety of fields, none have looked at the burnout problem in the specific area of physical therapy faculty members. The purpose of this study was to survey physical therapy faculty members nationwide in order to determine the degree of burnout in faculty members, as well as provide a preliminary look at those demographic factors that may be associated with faculty burnout.

Surveys were sent to a total of 20 Baccalaureate and 20 Masters physical therapy programs accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association. Three faculty members from each institution were invited to participate in the two part survey. The first part of the survey was the Maslach Burnout Inventory questionnaire and the second part was a demographic questionnaire. Upon return of the completed surveys, data was collected in aggregate and analyzed.

Twenty-six percent of the respondents scored high on the emotional exhaustion subscale, 14.0% scored high on the depersonalization subscale, and 32.0% scored low on the personal accomplishment subscale. As a whole, the population sampled demonstrated moderate burnout. Four factors arose from the regression analysis of the demographic data. The number of hours worked per week was a significant predictor of feeling high emotional exhaustion; the number of courses taught, the number of terms taught, and the program length were significant predictors of feeling low personal accomplishment. Increased hours worked per week, decreased number of courses taught, increased number of terms taught, and longer programs all contribute to a higher degree of burnout. There were no significant predictors found for depersonalization. No other demographic factors such as age, gender, or marital status were significantly associated with burnout.

It is hoped that through this research and future research that underlying factors of burnout can be identified and that programs can then be developed to address those factors and help prevent burnout of physical therapy faculty.