Demands, Resources, and Outcomes Across the Professional Lifespan of Psychologists
Psychologists face many demands as part of their professional lives, some of which result directly from the intensely personal nature of human service work. A substantial body of research has consistently linked the demands particular to the profession of psychology with emotional exhaustion and other aspects of burnout (e.g., Ackerley, Burnell, Holder, & Kurdek, 1988; Lee, Lim, Yang, & Lee, 2011; Rosenberg & Pace, 2006; Rupert & Kent, 2007; Rupert & Morgan, 2005; Rupert, Stevanovic, & Hunley 2009).
Research has also demonstrated that burnout, and particularly emotional exhaustion, tends to be more common among younger practicing psychologists (e.g., Ackerley et al.,1988; Lim, Kim, Kim, Yang, & Lee, 2010; Rupert & Kent, 2007; Rupert & Morgan, 2005; Rupert et al., 2009). This finding that burnout seems to decrease with age and experience provides evidence that psychologists' experiences of their work and its demands may change over their careers. Understanding these changes may provide useful information about the issues that are most important for psychologists at various stages of their careers, perhaps aiding in preventing burnout, promoting effective professional functioning, and enhancing well-being across the professional lifespan.
Thus, the present study drew upon data from two state-wide surveys of Illinois clinical psychologists, seeking to identify consistent patterns of the demands, resources, and personal and professional outcomes that are associated with early-, mid-, and late-career practicing psychologists. With data from both surveys compiled and analyzed, the manuscript resulting from this project is nearing readiness for publication.