Burnout Among Sexual Minority Mental Health Practitioners: Investigating Correlates and Predictors

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Abstract

Burnout is a significant concern that results in negative outcomes for both mental health practitioners (MHPs; e.g. counselors, psychologists, social workers) and their clients. Viehl and Dispenza (2015) found that sexual-minority-identified MHPs reported higher rates of burnout when compared to heterosexual-identified MHPs. To continue understanding what factors contribute to burnout among sexual-minority-identified MHPs, we used Internet survey procedures to explore possible correlates and predictors of burnout among 84 sexual- minority-identified MHPs. MHPs were recruited and sampled from across the U.S. Perceptions of reasonable workload, perceptions of workplace heterosexism, perceptions of workplace support, and identity concealment were all explored in this study as specific factors that could lead to burnout. All of the aforementioned factors correlated with burnout, and to some degree, uniquely predicted burnout among the MHPs sampled for this study. Perceptions of workplace support also mediated the relationship between workplace heterosexism and burnout. The data supports the need for MHPs, MHP educators, and clinical supervisors to address the stigma related to sexual minority identity as a potential contributor to burnout, as well as ways to navigate this marginalized identity within the mental health field.

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