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A scoping review of the literature pertaining to burnout and leadership in mental health clinicians

Jenny Gravestock (Department of Health, Psychology and Social care, University of Derby, Derby, UK)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 23 November 2022

Issue publication date: 18 May 2023




This paper aims to explore what is known in the literature about leadership and burnout within mental health clinicians (MHC).


The Arksey and O’Malley (2005) framework was used to conduct a systematised scoping review of three databases: PsycInfo, PubMed and CINAHL. To ensure a broad scope of the literature, Google, Google Scholar and three sources of grey literature were also searched.


In total 1,087 articles were identified and 36 were included in the final review, 23 of which were cross-sectional and correlational studies. There is a lack of experimental studies, longitudinal research and qualitative approaches. The literature repeatedly demonstrated an association between leadership and burnout; transformational-leadership style, good quality supervision, supportive relationships, positive communication and fostering autonomy are areas of interest.

Research limitations/implications

Future research activity should aim to follow the recommendations made in the literature; more experimental and longitudinal approaches are needed to support practical application of the findings.


To the best of the author’s knowledge there is no other review which maps out the research pertaining to leadership and burnout among MHC. These findings can be used to guide future research to ensure that efforts are directed toward original, meaningful and practical ventures that will add to the evidence base and benefit clinical practice.



Declaration of interest statement: No potential conflict of interest is reported by the author and no funding has been received for the production of this research.


Gravestock, J. (2023), "A scoping review of the literature pertaining to burnout and leadership in mental health clinicians", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 293-314.



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