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phase 1

What is burnout? How is it measured?

phase 2

How reliable and valid is the Burnout Assessment Tool?

phase 3

Who can assess my risk of burnout?

phase 4

How often is burnout present in Flanders and the Netherlands?


Only 1 phase left!

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phase 1.


In path 1, there was a collaboration with two master students, Ellen Caers & Kaat Vanbrabant, who wrote their master thesis under the supervision of Hans De Witte and Wilmar Schaufeli. Together with Kaat and Ellen, Steffie conducted 49 interviews with different practitioners in Flanders and The Netherlands. Kaat and Ellen interviewed the general and occupational physicians, while Steffie interviewed a diverse group of psychologists. Our goal was to gain insight in how burnout is experienced by practitioners. The end result of these interviews was a comprehensive list of symptoms and causes of burnout, as well as insights in the work-related nature of burnout. Eventually the list of symptoms was clusters into 5 groups: exhaustion, stress related complaints (both behaviorally and psychosomatically), cognitive malfunctions, emotional dysfunction (both emotions and moods) and mental distance.

the end result was a new definition of burnout.

How is burnout measured?

In path 2, Steffie conducted an extensive literature study in which questionnaire that measure burnout were analyzed. Each questionnaire was assigned to a group, depending on their psychometric qualities. Eventually we ended up with a list of 13 questionnaire that needed further analysis. They were analyzed in terms of their rating, scales, conceptual model, items, etc. Eventually we constructed a conceptual model that would be the base for our new questionnaire.

Based on this analysis and the new definition, we constructed a preliminary version of the Burnout Assessment Tool.

phase 2.

How reliable and valid is the burnout assessment tool?

In our second phase, we conducted a study to examine the psychometric properties of the BAT. The properties were examined in a heterogeneous online sample (N=949). More specifically, item-distribution, internal consistency, factorial validity, convergent and discriminant validity, as well as the content validity was investigated.

The preliminary BAT was analyzed using explorative (EFA) and confirmative factor analysis (CFA) and the relationship between variables was investigated with Structural Equation Modeling (SEM):

internal consistency?
All scales show good internal consistency (ranging from .87 till . 97)
relationship with work?
The core BAT (and MBI) all show positive relationships with various demands and negative relationships with various resources.
4 core symptoms?
Both EFA and CFA yield the expected factor solutions for the 4 core symptom clusters.
measurement of burnout?
The 4 core symptom clusters of the BAT and the three dimensions of the MBI loaded on one latent burnout factor.
item distribution?
The items of the BAT are normally distributed (and more so than those of the MBI).
no other concepts involved?
The core BAT can be distinguished from workaholism and work engagement, whereas the MBI can only be discriminated from workaholism but not from work engagement.

The preliminary version of the Burnout Assessment Tool (BAT) shows encouraging psychometric qualities and will be further developed (and shortened) in the next phases of the project.

phase 3.

who can assess my risk of burnout?

In our third phase, that is being conducted at the same time as the fourth and fifth phase, we set up a peer-rating study. The goal of this study is to clarify if it makes a difference, and if so what difference, if the questionnaire is completed by the individual itself or by his/her co-worker, boss, spouse, friend, etc.

This study is executed by master student Dries De Bie, under the supervision of our research team. He is conducting this study because of his upcoming master thesis, which is supervised by Wilmar Schaufeli.

phase 4.

A survey in flanders and the netherlands

In part 1, we set up a survey in Flanders and The Netherlands. Thanks to iVOX we gathered 3000 participants, 1500 for Flanders and 1500 for The Netherlands. The study was conducted end May, beginning of June 2017.

​The goal of this study is to map the relationship between burnout and personality and burnout and work-related aspects. Furthermore we use the study to validate the new tool in both groups.

The results of this study are also used, in combination with part 2, to assess the prevalence of burnout in Flanders and the Netherlands.



In part 2, we are setting up a clinical validity study in individuals who are burned out. the goal of this study is to formulate a traffic light model (by creating a green, orange and red group) for the new tool. These cut-off points can then correctly assess the risk of burnout.

 At this moment we are gathering the participants for this study. We set up a collaboration with another research team at KU Leuven, Lode Godderis and Jelena Bakusic, who are working on a blood test to diagnose burnout.