Effort-reward imbalance and burnout among nurses

J Adv Nurs. 2000 Apr;31(4):884-91. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2000.01361.x.


This study among a sample of 204 German nurses tested the hypothesis that an imbalance of high extrinsic efforts spent (i.e. job demands) and low extrinsic rewards obtained (e.g. poor promotion prospects) are associated with the burnout syndrome: the depletion of nurses' emotional resources. The results of a series of analyses of variances confirmed this hypothesis, by showing that those nurses who experienced an effort-reward imbalance (ERI) reported higher levels on two of the three core dimensions of burnout (i.e. emotional exhaustion and depersonalization) than those who did not experience such an imbalance. Moreover - as additionally hypothesized - significant interaction effects indicated that burnout (i.e. emotional exhaustion and reduced personal accomplishment) was particularly prevalent among those nurses who experienced ERI and put relatively high intrinsic effort into their jobs, as reflected by their strong tendency to be personally in control over job conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Nursing*
  • Reward*
  • Workload / psychology*