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Ergopolis
JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL BEHAVIOUR. Vol. 2.99-113 (1981)
The measurement of experienced burnout
CHRISTINA MASLACH, University of California, Berkeley and SUSAN E. JACKSON, University of California, Berkeley

SUMMARY
A scale designed to assess various aspects of the burnout syndrome was administered to a wide range of human services professionals. Three subscales emerged from the data analysis: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. Various psychometric analyses showed that the scale has both high reliability and validity as a measure of burnout.

INTRODUCTION
The professional staff in human service institutions are often required to spend considerable time in intense involvement with other people. Frequently, the staff-client interaction is centred around the client's current problems (psychological, social, and/or physical) and is therefore charged with feelings of anger, embarrassment, fear or despair. Solutions for these problems are not always obvious and easily obtained, thus adding ambiguity and frustration to the situation. For the helping professional who works continuously with people under such circumstances, the chronic stress can be emotionally draining and poses the risk of 'burnout'.
Burnout is • a syndrome of emotional exhaustion and cynicism that occurs
frequently among individuals who do 'people-work' of some kind. A key aspect of the burnout syndrome is increased feelings of emotional exhaustion. As their emotional resources are depleted, workers feel they are no longer able to give of themselves at a psychological level. Another aspect is the development of negative, cynical attitudes and feelings about one's clients. Such negative reactions to clients may be linked to the experience of emotional exhaustion, i.e. these two aspects of burnout appear to be somewhat related. This callous or even dehumanized perception of others can lead staff to view their clients as somehow deserving of their troubles (Ryan, 1971), and the prevalence among human service professionals of this negative attitude toward clients has been well documented (Wills, 1978). A third aspect of the burnout syndrome is the tendency to evaluate oneself negatively, particularly with regard to one's work with clients. Workers feel unhappy about themselves and dissatisfied with their accomplishments on the job.

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