Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Dental Hygiene








Purpose: Workplace burnout in academia is a problem that affects career satisfaction and longevity. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of burnout among entry-level dental hygiene program directors.

Methods: The Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) survey was used to determine prevalence of burnout in 325 dental hygiene program directors from across the United States. The survey was disseminated electronically. The CBI contains 19 questions that measure overall, personal, work-related, and client/student-related burnout on a five-point Likert type scale. The survey also included nine demographic and three open-ended questions related to burnout. Descriptive statistics, one sample t-tests, and one-way ANOVA tests were used to analyze the data.

Results: One hundred twenty-seven dental hygiene program directors completed the survey for a 39.1% response rate. Most participants (62.2%, n=79) indicated moderate to high burnout on the personal burnout subscale, approximately one half (51.2%, n=65) on the work-related burnout subscale, and one third (33.1%, n=42) on the client/student-related burnout subscale. No statistically significant differences were found when comparing mean scores between directors of two-year and four-year program or between participants under age 50 and those 50 years of age and older (p-values>0.05). Program directors with teaching workloads of 51-60% had significantly lower burnout on the work-related burnout subscale when compared to participants with teaching workloads of 31-40% (p=0.045). Participants with the lowest workload allocations for administrative duties had higher overall mean burnout scores.

Conclusion: Results from this study suggest one out of two dental hygiene program directors have symptoms of some type of burnout with the highest prevalence rate in the personal burnout subscale. Findings underscore the need for further research to identify stressors that lead to burnout as well as identify prevention strategies that promote a healthier work climate for dental hygiene program administrators.


© 2021 American Dental Hygienists Association.

Included with the written permission of the publisher.

Original Publication Citation

Suedbeck, J., Ludwig, E. A., & Tolle, S. L. (2021). The prevalence of burnout among entry-level dental hygiene program directors. Journal of Dental Hygiene, 95(1), 67-75.


0000-0001-7681-8042 (Suedbeck)