The Burden of Leadership: a Survey of Burnout Experiences Among Psychiatry Program Directors

Sallie G. De Golia, Lillian Joy Houston, Vishal Madaan, Isheeta Zalpuri, Randon Welton, Carol Bernstein, Sourav Sengupta, Muhammad A. Chaudhry, Donna M. Sudak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objectives of this study were to examine the prevalence of burnout, specify contributors to and protective factors against burnout, and gather suggestions to improve well-being in psychiatry Program Directors. Methods: A survey regarding burnout and wellness was distributed to psychiatric Program Directors through the email listserv of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training (AADPRT). Results: The survey response rate was 273 responses out of 880 members surveyed (31%). The majority of respondents were current residency or fellowship Program Directors or Associate Program Directors or had another current educational role (93%, 227/245). Almost half of current Program Directors or Associate Program Directors reported feeling burned out almost daily or once a week (44%, 93/210). These Program Directors reported a desire to resign (77%), experienced discrimination within the past 5 years (66%), and struggled with finding meaning in their job (44%). The most frequently endorsed contributors to burnout were increasing administrative burden and insufficient support. Conclusions: The survey findings confirm that burnout characteristics are common among respondents, associated with a desire to resign and a struggle to find meaning in the highly demanding position of Program Director or Associate Program Director. Advocacy for resources, decreased administrative overload, and increased protected time would enhance well-being in Program Directors. Most striking was the frequency of discrimination reported and its relationship to burnout. Departments may benefit from a careful review of policies, procedures, and training to decrease hostile workplaces for women, international medical graduate, and under-represented in medicine Program Directors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Administrative burden
  • Burnout
  • Discrimination
  • Meaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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