Prevalence of Burnout Among Doctors of Chiropractic in the Northeastern United States

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The purpose of this study was to measure the prevalence of burnout among doctors of chiropractic (DCs) in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania geographical region and compare these results with burnout data from other health care professions.


This exploratory study applied cross-sectional data collection methods. Using nonprobability convenience sampling, a New York–New Jersey–Pennsylvania chiropractic governance body provided contact information of a randomized sample of licensed DCs from their membership directory. Participants included any DC licensed to practice chiropractic whose primary occupation encompassed the chiropractic profession. The Maslach Burnout Inventory–Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) and a demographic questionnaire were e-mailed to a randomized sample of licensed DCs.


Of the 772 surveys deployed, 90 returned the survey with usable data. Nearly 40% of the DCs reported a moderate (24%) or high (18%) level of emotional exhaustion, whereas the majority of respondents scored a high (72%) level of personal accomplishment. In total, only 2 participants (2%) met the criteria for high burnout, whereas 42 participants (47%) were low. Statistically significant relationships (P < .001) were found between burnout subscales and the effect of time dedicated to administrative duties, the type of practice setting, the varying chiropractic philosophical perspectives, the public’s opinion of chiropractic, and the effect of suffering from a work-related injury. When compared with data from previously published studies using the MBI-HSS for other health professions (ie, medical, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and dentistry), the values for DCs were significantly lower.


The sample of DCs in this study fared more favorably on all 3 dimensions of burnout. They reported lower emotional exhaustion and depersonalization scores and higher personal accomplishment scores than their medical, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and dentistry colleagues who have been evaluated using the MBI-HSS. However, the levels of emotional exhaustion remain a concern for this professional group.

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