A randomized, controlled study of an online intervention to promote job satisfaction and well-being among physicians

Liselotte N. Dyrbye, Colin P. West, Melanie L. Richards, Helen J. Ross, Daniel Satele, Tait D. Shanafelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Although burnout, poor quality of life (QOL), depression, and other forms of psychological distress are common among physicians, few studies testing interventions to reduce distress have been reported. We conducted a randomized trial to determine the impact of a 10-week, individualized, online intervention on well-being among physicians (n = 290). Participants were randomized to either the intervention or control arm. Those in the intervention arm received a menu of self-directed micro-tasks once a week for 10 weeks, and were asked to select and complete one task weekly. Baseline and end-of-study questionnaires evaluating well-being (i.e., burnout, depression, QOL, fatigue) and professional satisfaction (i.e., job satisfaction, work engagement, meaning in work, and satisfaction with work-life balance) were administered to both arms. Overall quality of life and fatigue improved over the 10 weeks of the study for those in the intervention arm (both p < 0.01). When compared to the control arm, however, no statistically significant improvement in these dimensions of well-being was observed. At the completion of the study, those in the intervention arm were more likely to report participating in the study was worthwhile compared to those in the control arm. The findings suggest that although participants found the micro-tasks in the intervention arm worthwhile, they did not result in measurable improvements in well-being or professional satisfaction when compared to the control group. These results also highlight the critical importance of an appropriate control group in studies evaluating interventions to address physician burnout and distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalBurnout Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Burnout
  • Fatigue
  • Intervention
  • Physician
  • Professional satisfaction
  • Quality of life
  • Randomized controlled study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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