Health Professional Burnout – Part 4

  • Linda Blust MD

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Background     Fast Facts #167-169 described burnout, its risk factors and consequences, and coping strategies.  This Fast Fact will briefly describe assessment tools used in health professional research. Additionally, it provides a validated screening tool utilized widely in education.

Maslach Burnout Inventory (CPP, Inc.)

  • Designed for use in health care and other service industries.
  • Evaluates emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment.
  • Well-validated; readily available; utilized by Physician Worklife Study.
  • 10-15 minutes to complete.
  • Cost: approximately $1.25 per test, with additional fee for scoring key.

General Health Questionnaire (Bank 1980)

  • 12-item screen for symptoms of psychiatric morbidity
  • Reliable in community and occupational settings
  • Utilized in conjunction with Maslach Burnout Inventory in ongoing, longitudinal UK study of burnout and psychiatric morbidity in hospital consultants

Self Assessment Exercise (Girdin 1996)

How often do you . . .

a) almost always; b) often; c) seldom; d) almost never

  •    Find yourself with insufficient time to do things you really enjoy?
  •    Wish you had more support/assistance?
  •    Lacksufficient time to complete your work most effectively?
  •    Have difficulty falling asleep because you have too much on your mind?
  •    Feel people simply expect too much of you?
  •    Feel overwhelmed?
  •    Find yourself becoming forgetful or indecisive because you have too much on your mind?
  •    Consider yourself in a high pressure situation?
  •    Feel you have too much responsibility for one person?
  •    Feel exhausted at the end of the day?

Calculate your total score:  a) = 4, b) = 3, c) = 2, d) = 1.    Your total?  _____

A total of 25-40 indicates a high stress level that could be psychologically or physically debilitating.


  1. Bank M, et al.  The use of the general health questionnaire as an indicator of mental health in occupational settings.  Journal of Occupational Psychology. 1980; 53:187-194.
  2. Maslach Burnout Survey. CPP, Inc.  Available at: https://www.cpp.com/en/detailprod.aspx?pc=35.
  3. Girdin DA, Everly, GS, Dusek DE.  Controlling Stress and Tension. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon; 1996.
  4. Maslach C.  Burnout:  The Cost of Caring.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice-Hall; 1982.
  5. Ramirez AJ, et al.  Mental health of hospital consultants:  the effects of stress and satisfaction at work.  Lancet. 1996; 347:724-728.
  6. Ramirez AJ, et al.  Changes in mental health of UK hospital consultants since the mid-1990s.  Lancet. 2005; 366:742-744.

Version History:  This Fast Fact was originally edited by David E Weissman MD and published in November 2006.  Version re-copy-edited in April 2009; then again July 2015.