Date of Conferral
Currently, the high level of burnout among military psychologists resulting from contemporary military service is gaining attention. However, there is insufficient knowledge of their lived experiences of burnout. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore burnout, based on the military occupational mental health, military job demand-resources models, and biopsychosocial models. Eleven active duty and prior service military psychologists were recruited for interviews using snowball sampling. The first phase of data analysis employed NVivo software. The second and third phase used the 7-step modified version of the Van Kamm method, resulting in 7 themes and 1 discrepant case. The key findings indicated that the unique nature of military bureaucracy provided the environment that fostered burnout into a taboo milestone. Furthermore, the challenging task associated with finding meaning and balance for the ambiguous role of being a military psychologist also compounded the experiential factors contributing to burnout. Several shared experiential indications foretelling of burnout were identified. However, the reality of how military psychologist experienced burnout differed from textbook knowledge, indicating there is a theory-practice gap in personally diagnosing burnout progression. Military psychologists also indicated the theory-practice gap between the available resources for burnout and their limiting utilization practicability. The results of this study can be used to make a positive social change by better informing the development of prevention strategies benefiting not only military psychologists but potentially all military members who routinely describe themselves as burned out.