Burnout in Australian psychologists: correlations with work-setting, mindfulness and self-care behaviours

Psychol Health Med. 2014;19(6):705-15. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2013.861602. Epub 2013 Nov 27.


Burnout is an inherent risk for those working as mental health professionals, given the nature of their work. Due to recent Medicare changes in Australia, private practice psychologists were suspected to face similar burnout risks as non-private practitioners. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationships among burnout in Australian psychologists, work-setting and years of experience in that setting, mindfulness and career-sustaining behaviours (CSBs). 145 Females and 22 male Australian registered psychologists, with a mean age of 42.47 years (SD = 11.64, range 24-68), were surveyed to determine work-setting, mindfulness, burnout and preferences for CSBs. High levels of burnout were reported among Australian psychologists. No significant difference in burnout between psychologists working in private-practice and non-private-practice settings was found. There was a strong negative relationship between mindfulness and burnout and there was a low but significant negative relationship between years of experience in current work-setting and burnout levels. CSB preferences only had weak relationships with burnout, which decreased after controlling for mindfulness. Several CSBs that had a detrimental relationship with burnout were identified and may be worthy of further investigation. Developing strategies to increase mindfulness may prevent burnout in Australian psychologists.

Keywords: burnout; career-sustaining behaviours; mindfulness; psychologists.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Private Practice*
  • Psychology, Clinical*
  • Self Care
  • Work / psychology*
  • Young Adult