Tim Brunson DCH

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Personality, burnout, and longevity among professional music therapists.

The purpose of this study was to examine possible relationships between personality, burnout level, longevity, and demographic variables among professional music therapists. The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) were used to test personality and burnout. Subjects were 137 professional music therapists from all seven American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) regions with an overall average longevity of 17.85 years. The 16PF showed the personality traits that most describe music therapists are emotional sensitivity, reasoning, apprehension, warmth, openness to change, self-reliance, extraversion, anxiety, abstractedness, rule-consciousness, and self-control. Logistic regressions showed that the personality factor of anxiety (p < .007) significantly predicts the MBI-HSS subscale of emotional exhaustion and the personality factor of dominance (p < .01) significantly predicts the MBI-HSS subscale of personal accomplishment. While no personality factor significantly predicts the MBI-HSS subscales of depersonalization, social boldness (p < 0.07) and vigilance (p < .09) strongly contributed to this relationship. Logistic regressions also showed that highest degree earned is significantly (p < .000) predictive of longevity. Since the overall burnout level was in the average range, in essence this study described the profile of music therapists who are staying and thriving in the profession.

J Music Ther. 2010 Summer;47(2):155-79. Vega VP. Loyola University, New Orleans, USA.

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