A cautionary note about the cross-national and clinical validity of cut-off points for the Maslach Burnout Inventory

Psychol Rep. 1995 Jun;76(3 Pt 2):1083-90. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1995.76.3c.1083.


In the present study, burnout scores of three samples, as measured with the Maslach Burnout Inventory, were compared: (1) the normative American sample from the test-manual (N = 10,067), (2) the normative Dutch sample (N = 3,892), and (3) a Dutch outpatient sample (N = 142). Generally, the highest burnout scores were found for the outpatient sample, followed by the American and Dutch normative samples, respectively. Slightly different patterns were noted for each of the three components. Probably sampling bias, i.e., the healthy worker effect, or cultural value patterns, i.e., femininity versus masculinity, might be responsible for the results. It is concluded that extreme caution is required when cut-off points are used to classify individuals by burnout scores; only nation-specific and clinically derived cut-off points should be employed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / diagnosis*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Healthy Worker Effect
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • United States