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Anxiety Stress Coping. 2007 Jun;20(2):177-96.

Efficacy or inefficacy, that's the question: burnout and work engagement, and their relationships with efficacy beliefs.

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Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.


We challenge traditional view that lack of efficacy - measured with the corresponding reversed efficacy scale (Maslach Burnout Inventory, MBI) - is a burnout dimension. Instead, we claim that in addition to exhaustion and cynicism, inefficacy - measured with a newly developed scale - characterizes burnout. MBI-efficacy is apparently related to work engagement, considered as the positive antithesis of burnout. We performed Structural Equation Modeling in two samples of Spanish (n=239) and Dutch (n=235) university students, and two Spanish employee samples, working in various jobs (n=342) and working with information and communication technologies (n=283). Our expectations were largely confirmed: (1) compared with efficacy beliefs inefficacy beliefs relate more strongly to the other two burnout components; (2) the alternative three-factor burnout model including inefficacy fits better to the data than the traditional model including efficacy; (3) a model with inefficacy loading on burnout and efficacy loading on engagement fits the data. It is suggested that an inefficacy scale rather than a reversed efficacy scale should be used to assess burnout in future studies.

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