Burnout and coping strategies of polytrauma team members caring for Veterans with traumatic brain injury

Karen L. Saban, Timothy P. Hogan, Daniela Defrino, Charlesnika T. Evans, Erica D. Bauer, Theresa Louise Bender Pape, Monica Steiner, Eric J. Proescher, Frances R. Vlasses, Bridget M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: The aims of this national study were to (1) examine the extent of job burnout among VA Polytrauma team members engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI); and (2) identify their coping strategies for dealing with job-related stress. Design: A cross-sectional sample of 233 VA Polytrauma team members completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and identified strategies for coping with work stress as part of an online survey. Results: VA Polytrauma team members experience moderate levels of emotional exhaustion, but low levels of depersonalization and high levels of personal accomplishment. Moreover, 24% of participants reported high levels of emotional exhaustion, which may be a precursor to job burnout. Participants who reported caring for Veterans with TBI ≥50% of their time experienced higher levels of emotional exhaustion than those who spent <50% of their time (p≤0.001). Five major thematic categories related to coping strategies emerged from the data: (1) connecting with others, (2) promoting a healthy lifestyle, (3) pursuing outside interests, (4) managing work environment and (5) maintaining positive thinking. Conclusion: Polytrauma team members caring for Veterans with TBI may be at risk for job burnout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalBrain injury
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain injuries
  • Burnout
  • Professional
  • Psychological
  • Stress
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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