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Burnout, psychological morbidity, job satisfaction, and stress: a survey of Canadian hospital based child protection professionals
  1. S Bennett1,
  2. A Plint1,
  3. T J Clifford2
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics and of Psychiatry, University of Ottawa, Canada
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics and of Community Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Ottawa, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr S Bennett
    Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L1, Canada;


Aims: (1) To measure the prevalence of burnout, psychological morbidity, job satisfaction, job stress, and consideration of alternate work among multidisciplinary hospital based child and youth protection (CYP) professionals; (2) to understand the relations between these variables; and (3) to understand the reasons for leaving among former programme members.

Methods: Mailed survey of current and former members of all Canadian academic hospital based CYP programmes. Surveys for current members contained validated measures of burnout, psychological morbidity, job satisfaction/stress, and questions about consideration of alternate work. Surveys for former members examined motivation(s) for leaving.

Results: One hundred and twenty six of 165 current members (76.4%) and 13/14 (92.9%) former members responded. Over one third (34.1%) of respondents exhibited burnout while psychological morbidity was present in 13.5%. Job satisfaction was high, with 68.8% finding their job “extremely” or “quite” satisfying, whereas 26.2% found their job “extremely” or “quite” stressful. Psychological morbidity, job satisfaction, and job stress were not associated with any of the demographic variables measured, but burnout was most prevalent among non-physician programme members. Almost two thirds of current members indicated that they had seriously considered a change in work situation. Former members indicated that burnout and high levels of job stress were most responsible for their decision to leave and that increasing the number of programme staff and, consequently, reducing the number of hours worked would have influenced their decision to stay.

Conclusions: Current levels of burnout and the large proportion of individuals who have contemplated leaving the service suggest a potential crisis in Canadian hospital based CYP services.

  • child abuse
  • occupational health
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  • Competing interests: none declared

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