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Preventing job burnout is better than waiting to treat it

Narrator: This is Science Today. The positive antithesis of job burnout is job engagement - and that's just what researchers in this field are now looking into. Dr. Christina Maslach, a social psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying job burnout for over thirty years.

Maslach: The important thing about the lesson that's coming out of a lot of the research is we're doing a lot more on the positive opposite of burnout. It's not just about how do you get rid of the negative - it's how do you build the positive? What we have found is that on the research on engagement is that it's not just a simple opposite in some way. It allows you to do a different kind of thing when you're talking about interventions and trying to make a difference.

Narrator: Maslach says preventing job burnout is much better than waiting to treat it.

Maslach: I have been dogged most of my research career by the comment in organizations, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and if you wait until it's broke, you've got a big problem and an expensive fix.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.