Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, ABPP

Second Advisor

Robert DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Michael Becker, PhD


Burnout has not been defined in a universal and operational manner that is agreed upon by professionals. Burnout is prevalent among graduate students, has many negative side effects, and is not well understood. The experience of burnout varies by population. The lack of clear understanding makes assessment of burnout difficult. Assessment of burnout is difficult between groups because of the ambiguity of the construct and lack of construct validity with other terms. The purpose of this research was to identify shared themes related to burnout in graduate student populations in health-related programs and to gain insight into students’ perspectives on two current burnout and depression inventories. This study used a qualitative methodology in which 18 focus groups composed of individuals from varying healthcare programs at a graduate institution were asked about their experiences and views of burnout and critiqued the two measures. Repeated ideas pertaining to the psychological, environmental, and physical components of burnout were identified. Participants felt the construct validity between the assessments was poor. They identified possible changes they would like to see in the measures for improved validity and reliability. As burnout continues to negatively affect graduate students, the new proposed definition of burnout can be operationally measured in hopes to create a new assessment.