A simple screening tool for occupational burnout among dentists

Leena Chohan, Carolyn S. Dewa, Wafa El-Badrawy, S. M.Hashim Nainar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Nearly 40% of US physicians experience occupational burnout. The actual prevalence rate of burnout among US dentists remains unknown. The authors examined a simplified 2-item burnout screening tool based on the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) to identify possible occupational burnout among dentists. Methods: Data were obtained from a survey of pediatric dentists (n = 540) in the United States. The full MBI items from the data set were used to determine and categorize emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Responses to 2 MBI items, 1 for emotional exhaustion and 1 for depersonalization, were analyzed separately and risk of experiencing high MBI emotional exhaustion and depersonalization was calculated using all subscale items for these 2 burnout dimensions. Spearman correlations were used to compare responses to the 2 MBI items and MBI emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Results: Based on frequency of at least once per week, 18% of respondents had positive response to MBI item “I feel burned out from my work” and had high MBI emotional exhaustion, and 9% had positive response to MBI item “I have become more callous toward people since I took this job” along with high MBI depersonalization. The risk of experiencing the burnout dimensions of high emotional exhaustion and depersonalization increased with positive frequency score for the respective MBI items. There were strong positive correlations between responses to the 2 MBI items and emotional exhaustion and depersonalization scores, respectively. Conclusions: A simple 2-item burnout screening tool can be used to identify potential occupational burnout among dentists. Practical Implications: Improving awareness about occupational burnout can help mitigate its detrimental consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-145
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Dentists
  • job satisfaction
  • occupational stress
  • professional burnout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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