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Background: Job stress and emotional exhaustion have been shown to have a negative impact on the helping professional. The development and causal relations of job stress and emotional exhaustion are rather unclear in the chiropractic profession. The objective of this study is to understand the main sources of occupational stress and emotional exhaustion among doctors of chiropractic.

Methods: Analysis of the written responses to web-based open-ended questionnaire was performed using an interpretive research methodology. Additionally, cross tabulation and Chi square statistical tests were conducted to match and couple the demographic data with the categorical themes.

Results: Fourteen professional stress categories emerged from the 970 completed surveys. “Managed Care Organization regulation”, “Managed Care reimbursement” and “Scope of Practice Issues” were the most common stressors that negatively influenced chiropractors’ professional and personal lives. The results of the categorical analysis suggests that age, marital status, number of years in practice and location of practice may have an influence on the category of stress reported by chiropractors.

Conclusions: The qualitative approach revealed common, conventional and culture-specific job stressors in doctors of chiropractic. Notably, these findings suggest an association between third-party payer influences (increased regulation/ decreased reimbursement) with that of increased job stress. Further research will be undertaken to refine the stress and satisfaction parameters and address stress interventions.


This article originally appeared in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, available at DOI: 10.1186/s12998-016-0083-1

© 2016 Williams. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.



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