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Research Companion to Organizational Health Psychology

Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper

This timely Research Companion is essential reading to advance the understanding of healthy behaviours within working environments and to identify problems which can be the cause of illness. Containing both theoretical and empirical contributions written by distinguished academics working in Europe, North America and Australia, the book covers leading edge topics ranging from current theories of stress, stress management, and stress in specific occupational groups, such as doctors and teachers, to the relationship of stress with well-being. It provides systematic approaches towards practical actions and stress interventions in working environments and a solid theoretical framework for future research. It will be an essential companion to research on psychology and medicine as well as stress.
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Chapter 32: Burnout and Emotions: An Underresearched Issue in Search of a Theory

Dirk Enzmann


Dirk Enzmann Since the early 1970s, burnout research has developed from a science derogatively classified as ‘pop-psychology’ into an important branch of stress research in occupational and organizational psychology. Whereas 25 years ago anecdotic reports on burned out cases and efforts to clarify the definition and concept of burnout prevailed, nowadays the practical and scientific relevance of burnout research is generally acknowledged. This is mainly the consequence of two developments. For one thing, the question of how to define burnout has been settled quite easily by the establishment of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) (Maslach and Jackson, 1981a; Maslach et al., 1996) as the most widely used instrument to measure burnout, that is emotional exhaustion (feelings of fatigue and of being drained by one’s work), depersonalization (a negative attitude towards and a dehumanizing treatment of clients) and reduced personal accomplishment (lack of feelings of competence and achievements in one’s work with people). The MBI was basically designed to assess burnout in ‘helping’ professions, hence the name, MBI–Human Services Survey (MBI–HSS). To assess burnout within occupations that are not people-oriented, a general version of MBI, the MBI–General Survey (MBI–GS) (Maslach et al., 1996) has been developed. Similar to the MBI–HSS, its three components are denoted as exhaustion, cynicism and efficacy at work. Based upon the MBI and its inductive operationalization of burnout, the MBI–GS extends and generalizes the construct ‘burnout’. Secondly, the burnout phenomenon was taken up by occupational...

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