Stress and burnout: The significant difference

Ayala Malach Pines, Giora Keinan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Burnout is often conceptualized within the framework of stress research. The present manuscript contends that while burnout and strain are both adverse responses to job stressors they seem to have different antecedents, correlates and consequences. The existential perspective is offered as a theory based approach to differentiate the two concepts and point to the distinct features of burnout. Path analysis of data obtained from 1182 Israeli police officers during a Palestinian uprising revealed good reconstruction by the theoretical model and provided tentative support for this proposition. As predicted, job stressors (assumed to be antecedent variables) were more highly correlated with strain than with burnout whereas job importance (assumed to be an intervening variable) was more highly correlated with burnout than with strain. Burnout was more highly correlated than strain with such (outcome) variables as job dissatisfaction, desire to quit the job, physical and emotional symptoms and perceived performance level. Implications for differential treatment of stress and burnout are offered suggesting that the focus in treating burnout should be on enhancing people's sense of their work's importance and significance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-635
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Burnout
  • Existential
  • Police
  • Significance
  • Stress


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