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Are You at Risk for Burnout? This Psychologist-Created Quiz Lets You Know in 5 Minutes The burnout assessment tool was tested in seven countries using more than 10,000 survey responses.

By Sherin Shibu

Key Takeaways

  • Psychologists have created a burnout assessment tool (BAT).
  • The BAT takes about 5 minutes to fill out for the general version and consists of 23 questions.
  • Burnout was a “significant predictor” of type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems, and coronary heart disease.
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Psychologists have created a new questionnaire to measure burnout, or a state of mental exhaustion that people feel at work.

Dr. Leon De Beer, Associate Professor of Work and Organisational Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and his colleagues have looked into the early warning signs of burnout and created a burnout assessment tool (BAT) with statements such as, "At work, I feel mentally exhausted," or "After a day of work, I find it hard to recover my energy." Survey respondents can indicate if they agree or disagree with the statement on a scale from "Never" to "Always."

"Our studies show that BAT is a good tool for identifying the risk of burnout," De Beer told Norwegian SciTech News.

Related: 6 Ways to Lead Teams from Burnout to Performance

Burnout usually has two causes that compound over long periods of time: Either someone can no longer do their job due to chronic fatigue, or they do not want to do their job anymore because they have mentally distanced themselves from it.

To get a better idea of what contributes to burnout, De Beer and his colleagues interviewed professionals and then added data from over 12 burnout surveys with more than 300 questions.

The interviews and survey responses informed the researchers that burnout consists of extreme tiredness or exhaustion, mental distancing, cognitive impairment, and emotional impairment. The BAT evaluates burnout on those four levels.

Related: How to Spot Entrepreneurial Burnout (Before It's Too Late)

The words "burnout" or "exhaustion" can carry negative connotations, so they are not mentioned in the BAT's title when presented to participants. Instead, "work experience survey" or "well-being survey" becomes the title.

The BAT takes about 5 minutes to fill out for the general version and consists of 23 questions, and there's a work-related version with 34 questions. The short version takes less time, with only 12 questions. The researchers recommend the longer versions to better determine burnout risk because more answers to the questions mean more precisely assessing the cause of burnout. The BAT is not a diagnostic tool, according to the researchers, but rather a way to estimate someone's symptoms.

Related: 3 Insights From the First Large-Scale Study on Burnout and Entrepreneurs

Beer and his colleagues measured how well the BAT was able to assess burnout across seven countries, including Japan and countries in Europe, using more than 10,000 survey responses. They found that the BAT can help researchers assess burnout on a global scale.

According to the American Psychological Association, burnout and stress are on the rise, with occupations like first responders and human services workers especially at risk. A Statista survey from June 2023 revealed that 22% of U.S. employees rated their burnout levels as high or very high, and a 2017 scientific study from researchers at the Federal Institute of Paraná and the State University of Londrina in Brazil found that burnout was a "significant predictor" of type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems, and coronary heart disease.

"Not addressing the risk of employee burnout in time can have long-term consequences," De Beer stated.

To take the BAT at home, there is a web app version available that plots individual scores against data from the seven countries in the study. There are also pen-and-paper versions available.

Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

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