BDA research on burnout and dentists' wellbeing at work

The BDA is carrying out research on burnout within the dental profession and dentists’ well-being at work. The research will help to develop strategies for reducing the risk of burnout within the profession and promoting dentists’ mental well-being.

This research commenced in July 2015 and builds on earlier research by the BDA on work-related stress and dentists' working conditions.

Research objectives

The objectives of the research are to

  • understand the relationship between mental ill health, burnout, high job stress and working conditions among dentists
  • understand dentists' experiences of mental ill health, psychological distress, and burnout
  • identify strategies for promoting emotional and mental wellbeing at work among dentists and for better supporting dentists who experience mental health problems at work
  • raise awareness of mental health issues at work and the risk of burnout among UK dentists
  • inform BDA work to promote the wellbeing of dentists at work

These objectives will be delivered through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods.

Focus group discussions

In summer/autumn 2016, the BDA's Research Team undertook a series of five online focus groups with dentists working across the UK to explore a number of themes relating to burnout in the profession and mental health at work.

Semi-structured interviews

During 2016, the BDA's Research Team has also completed more than 20 semi-structured interviews with dentists who have experienced burnout, psychological distress at work, or mental ill health and to learn more about the impact of these experiences.

Survey of BDA members

In the next stage of the project, BDA researchers plan to undertake a sample survey of BDA members to investigate the links between working conditions and the risk of burnout and mental ill health among dentists. This survey will take place in early 2017.

Review of evidence on burnout and dentists' mental health

The final element of the research involves a review of the existing evidence on burnout in the dental profession and dentists' mental health. This will also look at the evidence on interventions and what works in preventing burnout and improving dentists' wellbeing at work.

Further information and advice

If you have any questions or would like more information about our research in this area, then please contact Judy Larbie in the BDA Research Team at Judy.Larbie@bda.org

The BDA has identified sources of advice, guidance, and help for both managers and individuals experiencing stress, emotional distress, or difficulties at work - Advice for individuals and managers

·      To estimate how common mental health problems and burnout are among UK dentists

·      To understand the relationship between mental ill health, burnout, high job stress and working conditions among dentists, and how these relationships vary across the settings that dentists work in

·      To understand dentists’ experiences of mental ill health and burnout

·      To understand how such experiences impact on dentists’ work and career

·      To identify strategies for promoting emotional and mental well-being at work among dentists and for better supporting dentists who experience mental-health problems at work

·      To raise awareness of mental-health issues and the risk of burnout among UK dentists

·      To inform BDA work to promote the wellbeing of dentists at work and support those who experience burnout or mental health problems