Empirical ResearchBy Florent Lheureux, Didier Truchot, Xavier Borteyrou, Nicole Rascle
This article concerns the measurement of burnout among human services professionals through its most widely used measure: the Maslach Burnout Inventory – Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS). In particular, it deals with its factor structure, the inclusion or non-inclusion of the personal accomplishment construct in burnout conceptualization (and measurement), the possibility of a “wording effect” in respondents’ answers, as well as the issue of known problematic items. A large sample (N = 2357) of French healthcare providers answered the French version of the MBI-HSS. A sub-sample (n = 1824) also completed the General Health Questionnaire 12-item version (GHQ-12). Exploratory factor analysis was first used to analyze the data. Then, four theoretical models were tested through confirmatory factor analysis on complete and shortened versions of the scale. The cross-validation procedure was used to assess model invariance across two random sub-samples. The GHQ-12 enabled the nomological validity of the three MBI sub-scales to be tested. The results confirmed the three-factor structure but called into question the inclusion of personal accomplishment in the conceptualization/measurement of burnout. However, they also corroborated the existence of a “wording effect” that blurs the “true” relationships between the burnout constructs. Thus, the development of a new version of the MBI-HSS using bipolar scales is recommended. Finally, these analyses suggest the removal of two to five items, a 17-item version appeared to be the most satisfactory.