Predictors of emotional exhaustion, disengagement and burnout among improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) practitioners

J Ment Health. 2017 Apr;26(2):172-179. doi: 10.1080/09638237.2016.1276540. Epub 2017 Jan 13.


Background: Among mental health staff, burnout has been associated with undesirable outcomes, such as physical and mental ill-health, high levels of staff turnover and poorer patient care.

Aims: To estimate the prevalence and predictors of burnout amongst Improving Access to Psychological Therapist (IAPT) practitioners.

Methods: IAPT practitioners (N = 201) completed an on-line survey measuring time spent per week on different types of work related activity. These were investigated as predictors of burnout (measured using the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory).

Results: The prevalence of burnout was 68.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) 58.8-77.3%) among psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWP) and 50.0% (95% CI 39.6-60.4%) among high intensity (HI) therapists. Among PWPs hours of overtime-predicted higher odds of burnout and hours of clinical supervision predicted lower odds of burnout. The odds of burnout increased with telephone hours of patient contact among PWPs who had worked in the service for two or more years. None of the job characteristics significantly predicted burnout among HI therapists.

Conclusions: Our results suggest a high prevalence of burnout among IAPT practitioners. Strategies to reduce burnout among PWPs involving reductions in workload, particularly telephone contact and increases in clinical supervision need to be evaluated.

Keywords: Burnout; IAPT; disengagement; emotional exhaustion; mental health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged