C. Maslach: perdita d’interesse nei confronti delle persone con cui si lavora.

C.Cherniss: una ritirata psicologica dal lavoro in risposta all'eccesso di stress e insoddisfazione.

Edelwich e Brodsky: progressiva perdita di idealismo, energia e scopi, vissuta da operatori sociali, professionali e non, come risultato delle condizioni in cui lavorano.

Job Burnout
Burnout is a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job, and is defined by the three dimensions of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. The past 25 years of research has established the complexity of the construct, and places the individual stress experience within a larger organizational context of people’s relation to their work. Recently, the work on burnout has expanded internationally and has led to new conceptual models. The focus on engagement, the positive antithesis of burnout, promises to yield new perspectives on the interventions to alleviate burnout. The social focus of burnout, the solid research basis concerning the syndrome, and its specific ties to the work domain make a distinct and valuable contribution to people’s health and well-being. (Excerpted from Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W.B., and Leiter, M.P, Annual Review of Psychology, V.52, 2001, pp.397-422.)

Teacher Burnout
Statistical data indicate that teachers are abandoning the profession in increasing numbers.
According to Shinn (1982) and Katzell, Korman, and Levine (1971), teachers are three times more likely to quit their jobs and even more likely to want to quit their jobs than are similarly trained professionals. Many are findings jobs in private industry, others are seeking early retirement, and still others are simply dropping out. Thousands of teachers have laid down their pointers and chalk largely because of because of decreased funding, limited personal control over their teaching, and lack of societal commitment.
One important factor that contributes to this trend is teacher burnout. Burnout is a more serious problem to the profession than job change or early retirement because it renders a teacher unable to cope, although he or she remains in the classroom. According to Truch (1980), teacher distress costs at least 3.5 billion annually through absenteeism, turnover, poor performance, and waste. It is estimated that one-quarter of all teachers feel burned out at any given time.

Job burnout is a problem in many professions, but it significantly more prevalent in the helping professions. Teachers, as well as administrators, counselors, doctors, nurses, police officers, and so on have the additional burden of extreme responsibility for the well being of others on top of the multitude of stressors that stem from routine job activities. This heavy responsibility combined with limited resources, long hours, marginal working conditions, and often unreasonable demands from those receiving services, lead to chronic stress, and ultimately, burnout. (Teacher Burnout in the Public Schools: Structural Causes and Consequences for Children A.G. Dworkin. 1987. State University of New York Press)

Support Staff Burnout
I have heard counselors complain that they are just going through the motions of their job. They feel that whatever they are doing makes no difference at all and that they have nothing left to give. Some of these practitioners have convinced themselves that this feeling of burnout is one of the inevitable hazards of the profession and that there is not much they can do to revitalize themselves. This assumption is lethal, for it cements the feeling of impotence and leads to a giving up of hope. Equally bad are those practitioners whodo not realize that they are burned out.
Burnout manifests itself in many ways. Those who experience this syndrome typically find that they are tired, drained, and without enthusiasm. They talk of feeling pulled by their many projects, most of which seem to have lost meaning. They feel that what they do have to offer is either not wanted or not received; they feel unappreciated, unrecognized, and unimportant, and they go about their jobs in a mechanical and routine way. They tend not to see any concrete results of the fruits of the efforts . Often they feel oppressed by the “system” and by institutional demands, which, they contend, stifle any sense of personal initiative. A real danger is that burnout syndrome can feed off itself, so that practitioners feel more and more isolated. They may fail to reach out to one another and to develop a support system. Because burnout can rob us of the vitality we need personally and professionally, it is important to look at some of its causes, possible remedies, and ways of preventing it.
(From Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (1996), by Gerald Corey)