The Maslach-Burnout-Inventory (MBI) for Measuring Burnout at Work

The Maslach Burnout Inventory is a tool that measures levels of job exhaustion. It's simple and easy to apply. You can even do it yourself.
The Maslach-Burnout-Inventory (MBI) for Measuring Burnout at Work
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Written by Edith Sánchez

Last update: 08 February, 2023

The Maslach Burnout Inventory, also known as the burnout questionnaire, is an instrument for measuring job exhaustion or burnout syndrome. This is a condition in which the individual experiences chronic stress. Basically, it manifests in them as a continuous negative attitude toward their environment.

When an individual experiences job burnout, they feel permanently fatigued. At the same time, they have trouble getting adequate sleep or rest. In addition, they become irritable, show detachment or rejection of their work, and decrease their productivity.

In the long term, job burnout can have really serious consequences for the individual. For instance, it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and infections. It can also lead to a state of chronic fatigue which, in some cases, is irreversible. The burnout questionnaire is a means of discovering if someone has burnout syndrome.

Sometimes the most important thing you can do is relax.”

-Mark Black-

overwhelmed employee
Burnout syndrome has both physical and emotional consequences.

The Maslach-Burnout-Inventory

There are several tests for assessing job burnout. However, the Maslach-Burnout-Inventory is one of the most complete. For this reason, it’s frequently employed. It was designed by the American psychologist, Christina Maslach, with her colleagues Susan E. Jackson and Michael P. Leiter, in 1981.

The inventory consists of 22 items in the form of statements associated with the attitudes and feelings that an individual experiences toward their work. Its objective is to measure the intensity and frequency with which they experience certain symptoms related to job burnout.

The tool evaluates three aspects of burnout syndrome:

  • Exhaustion. The feeling of being exhausted due to work requirements. Questions 1 to 7 relate to this aspect.
  • Depersonalization. Distancing from or lack of interest in work. Questions 8 to 14 are concerned with this aspect.
  • Personal realization. Feelings of efficiency and labor evolution. Questions 15 to 22 deal with this aspect.

Completing the burnout inventory

The burnout inventory is completed by asking the individual to rate each of the 22 statements from zero to six, taking into account the frequency with which they experience the situation. On the scale, each number represents the following:

  • 0 = Never.
  • 1 = A few times a year or less.
  • 2 = Once a month or less.
  • 3 = A few times a month.
  • 4 = Once a week.
  • 5 = A few times a week.
  • 6 = Every day.

These are the 22 statements:

  1. I feel emotionally drained by my work.
  2. Working with people all day long requires a great deal of effort.
  3. I feel like my work is breaking me down.
  4. I feel frustrated by my work.
  5. I feel I work too hard at my job.
  6. It stresses me too much to work in direct contact with people.
  7. I feel like I’m at the end of my rope.
  8. I feel I look after certain patients/clients impersonally as if they are objects.
  9. I feel tired when I get up in the morning and have to face another day at work.
  10. I have the impression that my patients/clients make me responsible for some of their problems.
  11. I am at the end of my patience at the end of my work day.
  12. I really don’t care about what happens to some of my clients/patients.
  13. I have become more insensitive to people since I’ve been working.
  14. I’m afraid that this job is making me uncaring.
  15. I accomplish many worthwhile things in this job.
  16. I feel full of energy.
  17. I am easily able to understand what my patients/clients feel.
  18. I look after my clients’/patients’ problems effectively.
  19. In my work, I handle emotional problems very calmly.
  20. Through my work, I feel like I have a positive influence on people.
  21. I am easily able to create a relaxed atmosphere with my patients/clients.
  22. I feel refreshed when I have been close to my patients/clients at work.
Overwhelmed woman at work
Emotional exhaustion or burnout can have an impact on the sufferer’s personal life. They might reduce their contact with others and feel sad, disappointed, and useless.


The burnout questionnaire should be completed within ten to 15 minutes. The maximum score that can be obtained is 132. This figure can be discriminated according to each component, as follows:

  • Exhaustion (Burnout). Maximum score = 54.
  • Depersonalization. Maximum score = 30.
  • Personal Achievement. Maximum score = 48.

A higher score in the first two sections and a low score in the third suggests a possibility of job burnout. Some values are taken as a reference to indicate that, although the individual may not be suffering from complete burnout syndrome, they may be suffering a moderate case.  These values are as follows:

  • Exhaustion (Burnout). Between 18-29.
  • Depersonalization. Between 6 and 11.
  • Personal Achievement. Between 34 and 39.

If an individual scores highly on the burnout inventory, they should consult with their doctor. They can help them design a strategy to prevent an increase in the problem or address its possible consequences.

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  • Juárez, J. M. I. (2006). Las personas en las organizaciones: trabajo y realización personal. Capital humano: revista para la integración y desarrollo de los recursos humanos, 19(203), 82-89.
  • Marsollier, R. G. (2013). La despersonalización y su incidencia en los procesos de desgaste laboral.
  • Maslach, C., Jackson, S. E., & Leiter, M. P. (1997). Maslach burnout inventory. Scarecrow Education.

The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.