Burnout among primary care physicians and mental health professionals in a managed health care setting

Psychol Rep. 1989 Dec;65(3 Pt 1):775-80. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1989.65.3.775.


This study assessed burnout within a large Health Maintenance Organization. Primary care physicians and one psychiatric clinic staff were studied. The Maslach Burnout Inventory was used to develop frequency data in the areas of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal achievement. Among the primary care physicians, moderate emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization were found. Personal achievement was high. Among the psychiatric staff, high emotional exhaustion and depersonalization were found. Again, personal achievement was high. The entire professional group, with the one exception, was significantly higher in emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal achievement than Maslach's normative sample. Psychiatrists and social workers had significantly higher scores on depersonalization than the primary care physicians or psychologists. High burnout in a Health Maintenance Organization setting suggests that managed health care providers may be more prone to burnout than fee-for-service practitioners. Several suggestions were made for such organizations to help alleviate burnout in their staffs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • California
  • Health Maintenance Organizations*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Tests
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*