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New insights into physician burnout and turnover intent: a validated measure of physician fortitude.

BACKGROUND: Given the increasing prevalence of the physician burnout, this study provides new insights into the antecedents driving burnout and turnover intent. By introducing the concept of physician fortitude, we develop a valid and statistically-reliable measure that increases our understanding of these issues.

METHODS: A two-sample design was employed. Using a sample of 909 physicians, Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) and healthcare leaders, exploratory factor analysis was employed to create a 12-item fortitude scale. In the second study, using a sample of 212 of practicing physicians, APPs and healthcare leaders, bivariate and tetrachoric correlations, and ordinary least square regression modeling were able to establish reliability and validity.

RESULTS: The fortitude scale shows sufficient reliability. Moreover, we found significant support for convergent and criterion-related validity. Fortitude was significantly related to all three subdimensions of burnout, including emotional exhaustion (r = -.62, p < .01), depersonalization (r = -.70, p < .01) and personal accomplishment (r = .65, p < .01), and turnover intent (r = -.55, p < .01). Moreover, the fortitude measure explained more variance in all three subdimensions of burnout and turnover intent compared to common measures, including grit, hardiness, mental toughness and resilience (p < .01).

CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study empirically demonstrate that fortitude is significantly related to burnout, and turnover intent. This new fortitude measure adds a new perspective to assist in the development of more effective interventions. Opportunities for future research are discussed.

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