The Interrelationships of Coping Styles and Professional Burnout Among Physiotherapists: A Cross-Sectional Study

Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Jun;94(24):e906. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000906.


Burnout is a pathological syndrome in which emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DEP), and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment (PA) develop in response to prolonged occupational stress. Those working in the physiotherapy profession appear to be at risk for professional burnout brought on by the specific character of the medical professions, involving continuous contact with patients and associated stress, as well as poor working conditions. However, literature data concerning the scale of professional burnout and its psychosocial correlates remain scarce. The aim of the present study was to assess the scale of professional burnout among physiotherapists and to determine the interrelationships between coping styles and burnout symptoms. The sample consisted of 117 professionally active physiotherapists (90 women and 27 men) aged 21 to 55 years (mean [M] 31.88, standard deviation [SD] = 9.14, responsiveness rate of 80.6%) from randomly selected medical institutions of the Lodz Region. The study was conducted using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) by Endler and Parker. Demographic and job-related data on the respondents were also collected. Task-oriented coping correlated negatively with DEP, EE, and low PA, in contrast to emotion-oriented coping. No correlation was found between avoidance-oriented coping and burnout symptoms. Similarly, no interactive correlations between coping styles and particular burnout symptoms were confirmed. Coping styles correlate independently with professional burnout, without any mutual correlations. Physiotherapists employing a wider spectrum of task-oriented strategies are slightly more satisfied with their job. The incidence of burnout syndrome in the analyzed group is similar to that observed in other medical professions and requires the adoption of preventive measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapists / psychology
  • Physical Therapists / statistics & numerical data*