Professional Burnout of Psychiatrists in a Veterans Health Administration: Exploring the Role of the Organizational Treatment

  • Margo C. Villarosa-Hurlocker
  • Lisa-Ann J. CuccurulloEmail author
  • Hector A. Garcia
  • Erin P. Finley
Original Article


Psychiatrists in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are susceptible to professional burnout due to the unique needs of veterans combined with high organizational demands. The current study examined the mediating role of organizational factors in the direct relationship between providing primarily pharmacological intervention and professional burnout. Data from 125 VHA psychiatrists revealed that fair treatment by superiors and sufficient resources independently mediated the direct relationship that the percent of time devoted to pharmacological intervention had with emotional exhaustion and cynicism. Psychiatrists who feel unfairly treated and lack sufficient resources reported more professional burnout. Implications and future directions are discussed.


Veterans Health Administration Burnout Psychiatrists Organizational factors 



MCV is supported by a training grant (T32-AA018108) from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in the United States.


This is an unfunded study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply  2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margo C. Villarosa-Hurlocker
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lisa-Ann J. Cuccurullo
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Hector A. Garcia
    • 5
    • 6
  • Erin P. Finley
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and AddictionsUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care SystemNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.South Central VA Healthcare Network Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC)New OrleansUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  5. 5.Texas Valley Coastal Bend Veterans Health Care SystemHarlingenUSA
  6. 6.Department of Psychiatry, Department of MedicineUniversity of Texas Health Sciences CenterSan AntonioUSA
  7. 7.South Texas Veterans Health Care SystemSan AntonioUSA

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