Comparison of Resilience and Resistance to Burnout within Dpt Students and Practicing Pts: Preliminary Results
Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to identify resilience and burnout scores within doctorate of physical therapy students (SPTs) and practicing physical therapy clinicians (PTs). Another purpose was to determine the largest stressors for SPTs and PTs as well as their coping strategies for combating stress. Resiliency was determined by analyzing coping strategies to stressors. Burnout included emotional exhaustion, reduced personal accomplishment, and depersonalization. It was hypothesized that practicing clinicians would display higher levels of resilience compared to PT students due to their level of experience dealing with adversity and potential gains in personal fulfillment throughout their careers. Number of Subjects: 27 SPTs and 21 PTs completed the study. Materials and Methods: Enrolled SPTs from a local Midwestern university and PTs associated with said university participated in an online survey related to burnout, resilience, academic and lifestyle-related stressors, coping strategies for academic and lifestyle-related stressors, and demographic markers. Resilience and burnout were measured using the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RS) and the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) respectively. SPSS was used for data analysis. Results: Comparing year 1 and 2 SPTs, preliminary data indicated year 2 SPTs demonstrated higher resilience (P=.034) and lower emotional exhaustion (P=.000) scores. When comparing SPTs to PTs, SPTs demonstrated lower emotional exhaustion (P=.008) and higher personal accomplishment (P=.004). Exams were identified as the highest academic stressor for SPTs, and exercise was the highest stress relief strategy. The main lifestyle-related stressor for SPTs included not being able to communicate/spend time with loved ones, with the main coping strategy simply to spend/communicate with family. Workload was identified as the highest occupation-related stressor for PTs, and communication with others was the highest stress relief strategy. The main lifestyle-related stressor for PTs was the weather, with the main coping strategy as participating in exercise. Conclusions: The preliminary results of this study showed as SPTs demonstrate higher resilience and lower exhaustion as they progress through their entry-level education. Additionally, PTs demonstrated higher resilience, lower emotional exhaustion, and higher personal accomplishment than the SPTs. These trends will be analyzed as additional participants are added to the study. Clinical Relevance: The results will enable physical therapy professors to consider curricular demands and support services to SPTs, especially the first year SPTS as they transition from undergraduate to graduate school. The findings can be used to identify potential long-term stressors within PT education and the profession to promote higher resilience and decreased burnout.