An integrative review of the Maslach Burnout Inventory as a measurement for medical resident burnout

This research project examined the validity of the leading method to assess burnout, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), in defining and measuring burnout among physicians in training. This study also provided qualitative observations of contemporary burnout research discourse, providing new conceptualizations of this phenomenon using social work systems theory. In a meta-analysis of 12 studies using the MBI to measure burnout in physicians in training (‘medical residents’), an overall prevalence rate could not be reliably determined due to the inconsistent scoring thresholds used for each dimension (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment). These discrepancies in applying the MBI demonstrate the limitations of ‘burnout’ as a medicalized term, and indicate the need for a biopsychosocial framework in order to refocus the research efforts on systemic issues endemic to all healthcare professionals.