Narrator: This is Science Today. Job burnout is currently a hot button issue, but for researchers studying the subject, it's not the first time. In fact, Christina Maslach, a social psychologist at the University of California , Berkeley , has been a pioneering researcher in the field of job burnout since the mid-1970s.
Maslach: In terms of what burnout is, we find there are three key components that are overlapping. One is the thing everybody thinks of, which is exhaustion. There's a second dimension of what we call cynicism and basically, this is a response to the job and the third dimension is inefficacy.
Narrator: Then there are the six areas of work life that affect feelings of burnout. They are: workload, control, reward, community, fairness and values.
Maslach: The research data are now showing that we can pick up early warning signs. That means one of the three dimensions of burnout is beginning to show a problem and the tipping point tends to be that there's a serious mismatch between the person and their workplace on at least one of those six areas.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.