An investigation of prevalence and predictors of disengagement and exhaustion in pharmacy students

Madeline Fuller, Aric Schadler, Jeff Cain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine the prevalence of burnout in first, second, and third professional year (P1, P2, and P3) pharmacy students at a single institution and identify predictors of higher burnout scores. Methods. A 31-question anonymous online survey was developed and administered to a total of 390 P1, P2, and P3 students at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. The survey consisted of a modified version of the 16-question Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) and 14 additional questions related to demographic and co-curricular and extracurricular related questions. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were conducted as appropriate to determine differences among the variables studied and to identify predictive variables of disengagement and emotional exhaustion. Results. Seventy-five percent of invited students participated in the study. Results of the analyses showed that P1 students had significantly lower engagement scores than both P2 and P3 students, and that P2 students were significantly less exhausted than P1 and P3 students. There was a lack of correlation between burnout scores and students’ postgraduate goals, curricular involvement, and work responsibilities. Married students reported being significantly less exhausted than unmarried students. Conclusion. This study added to the growing evidence that pharmacy students have relatively high rates of disengagement and emotional exhaustion. Because the variables expected to contribute to burnout were not found to be predictive in this study, further analyses examining the positive and negative predictive factors associated with burnout scores in pharmacy students are needed. Identifying these factors would allow targeted interventions to be made early in the academic careers of students most susceptible to burnout.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7945
Pages (from-to)1371-1377
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.


  • Burnout
  • Stress
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (all)


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