1 HISTORY OF BURNOUT

The first time the word 'burnt-out' was used is by novellist Graham Greene, in his novel 'A Burnt-out case' in 1960

In 1974 a psycholgist named dr. Freudenberger (PhD) named some of his nurses 'burned out'. He wrote a scientific article named 'Staff burn-out' (JOURNAL OF SOCIAL ISSUES, Volume 30, Issue 1, Winter 1974, Pages: 159–165, Wiley & Sons)

Herbert Freudenberger PhD

Dr. Freudenberger was such a genius, that this articel is NOT for sale, but costs 42 USD to VIEW it during 24 hours. Copyrights are with Wiley & Sons. This is by the way a clear cut case for 'open science' - how many unnecessary burnout suffering has there been just because Wiley & Sons can still have copyright 40 years later?

In 1974 after the Wiley & Sons article Freudenberger wrote a book: ''Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement.''

In the following PDF article, the 1974 definition of burnout by Freudenberger as well as 1982 definition by Maslach are quoted:

"He (Freudenberger - ed.) defined burnout as a state of fatigue or frustration that resulted from professional relationships that failed to produce the expected rewards (). Maslach (1982) later defined burnout as a psychological syndrome involving emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a diminished sense of personal accomplishment that occurred among various professionals who work with other people in challenging situations. In Maslach’s view, burnout undermines the care and professional attention given to clients of human service professionals such as teachers, police officers, lawyers, nurses, and others ()."


The whole article (10 april 2009, "Factor structure of the Maslach Burnout Inventory: An analysis of data from large scale cross-sectional surveys of nurses from eight countries") is very interesting regarding the history and insight of burnout and is open source (click PDF)

In 1979, Michael R. Daley writes a very insightful article about burnout, open source, 'Burnout: smoldering problem in protective service'.(PDF)

In 1979 another brilliant article is written about burnout, by Jerome Caroll, PhD, and it is only 1 PAGE (!): 'Staff burnout as a form of ecological dysfunction' (click .png)

We find this scientific article brilliant because even now, in 2014, 35 years later, many physicians totally do not realise that burnout is an 'interaction illness' as Jerome Carroll describes.

In the years hereafter, Dr. C Maslach developed the 'Maslach Burnout Inventory' (MBI), that was validated in 1986. There are many research articles to be found on the MBI, they are all on http://scholar.google.com

Christine Maslach PhD, of the MBI

After the introduction of the MBI in 1986, little has happened. Some scientists added - to the three aspects of burnout as defined by Maslach (1982 Maslach defined burnout as a psychological syndrome involving emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a diminished sense of
personal accomplishment that occurred among various professionals who work with other people in challenging situations) 'cognitive impairment' as fourth aspect.

The 'little' that happened is still a lot of research, mainly in different areas of work. By 'little' we mean that no break-through insights have been reached, certainly not in the area of 'neurobiology of burnout'. The 35 year era of research has been summarized by Leiter, Maslach and Schaufeli in attached 17 pages, PDF (click). For people not yet very acquainted to the science of burnout, this is an excellent read.

The only other, thus the second scientifically validated burnout test, the SMBQ, Shirom Melamed Burnout Questionnaire 2004, Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, mentions the cognitive impairment.

Thereafter very little happened. Many people did not read the first research (mentioned above) well, leading to many misunderstandings, re-inventions of the wheel and unnecessary suffering for burnout patients.

September 2014: 40 years after Freudenberger: first 'grand theory' of burnout


'Neuroinflammation in burnout patients' (pdf, click)


DOI: 10.13140/2.1.4390.8481

New: first 'Grand Theory' of burnout, 13 september 2014, 40 years after the 'discovery' of burnout by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974 (click PDF)

Jean Philippe BlankertJean Philippe Blankert, 2014, the first burnout scientist presenting a 'grand theory' of burnout including pathogenesis, definition of moment of illness, illness progression, relation of burnout to immunology and explanation of cognitive impairment in burnout due to neuroinflammation in chronic burnout patients.

All comments, questions, proposals for co-operation are welcome on info@burnout.university