Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 13–19 | Cite as

Observations on Burnout in Family Medicine and Psychiatry Residents

  • Jack Richard WoodsideJr.Email author
  • Merry Noel Miller
  • Michael R. Floyd
  • K. Ramsey McGowen
  • Debi T. Pfortmiller
Original Article



To investigate the relationship between burnout, work environment, and a variety of personalvariables, including age, gender, marital, parental and acculturation status within a population of family medicine and psychiatry resident physicians.


Between 2002 and 2005, 155 residents in family medicine and psychiatry at East Tennessee State University College of Medicine were surveyed at intervals using the Maslach Burnout Inventory and Work Environment Scale, form R, to assess their current state of emotional health and job satisfaction.


Female residents had lower scores on the Depersonalization scale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (t = 3.37, p = 0.001). Parenting was associated with lower Depersonalization (t = 3.98, p<0.001) and Emotional Exhaustion (t = 2.59, p = 0.011). Residents from the United States culture reported higher Depersonalization and Emotional Exhaustion (t = −3.64, p<0.001; t = −3.85, p<0.001). On the Work Environment Scale, residents from United States culture reported less Task Orientation and Control but higher Work Pressure (t = 2.89, p = 0.005; t = 2.24, p = 0.027; t = −2.79, p = 0.006). Psychiatry residents reported less burnout than family medicine residents on the Depersonalization and Emotional Exhaustion scales (t = 2.49, p = 0.014: t = 2.05, p = 0.042) and higher Physical Comfort on the Work Environment Scale (t = −2.60,p = 0.011); while family medicine residents reported higher Peer Cohesion, Supervisor Support, and Autonomy (t = 3.41, p = 0.001; t = 2.38, p= 0.019; t = 2.27, p = 0.025).


This study design, using well established, standard, and valid measures, identified important issues for further exploration: the relationship between acculturation to burnout the potential role of parenting as a protective factor from burnout, and the recognition that women residents may not be as vulnerable to burnout as previously reported.


Academic Psychiatry Emotional Exhaustion Psychiatry Resident Supervisor Support Maslach Burnout Inventory 
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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack Richard WoodsideJr.
    • 1
    Email author
  • Merry Noel Miller
    • 2
  • Michael R. Floyd
    • 1
  • K. Ramsey McGowen
    • 2
  • Debi T. Pfortmiller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineEast Tennessee State University College of MedicineJohnson CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesEast Tennessee State University College of MedicineLittle RockUSA

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