OBJECTIVES: To extend our knowledge about the applicability of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) among dentists and to investigate trends in burnout risk among dental professionals. METHODS: The structure of the MBI is examined among two independent, representative samples of dentists (n = 493 and 497, respectively). Moreover, results are compared to those of other independently-practicing health professionals (i.e., general practitioners and physiotherapists). In addition, the percentage of dentists that are at risk for burnout are compared in samples from 1997, 2000, and 2001. RESULTS: Correlations between the Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization subscales among dentists were higher than those found elsewhere. Additionally, a considerable increase in burnout risk was found since 1997. CONCLUSIONS: It was confirmed that the MBI can be considered a suitable instrument for use among dentists. It is argued that certain specific aspects of entrepreneur-like occupations are reflected in deviating responses to the MBI. Given the clear increase in burnout risk found, this topic should remain under investigation among dentists.
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