Original Research

The psychometrical properties of translated versions of the Maslach Burnout Inventory – General Survey

Carin Marais, Karina Mostert, Sebastiaan Rothmann
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 35, No 1 | a838 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v35i1.838 | © 2009 Carin Marais, Karina Mostert, Sebastiaan Rothmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 June 2009 | Published: 21 October 2009

About the author(s)

Carin Marais, North-West University, South Africa
Karina Mostert,, South Africa
Sebastiaan Rothmann,, South Africa

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Abstract

Orientation: The investigation of the psychometric properties of translated versions of a burnout measure.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of translated versions of the Maslach Burnout Inventory – General Survey (MBI-GS) and the Cognitive Weariness Scale.

Motivation for the study: To adhere to Section 8 of the Employment Equity Act, Act No. 55 of 1998 (p. 7), which stipulates that ‘Psychological testing and other similar assessments are prohibited unless the test or assessment being used (a) has been scientifi cally shown to be valid and reliable, (b) can be applied fairly to all employees, and (c) is not biased against any employee or group.’

Research design, approach and method: The current study follows the quantitative research tradition. This study was conducted with a convenience sample of members of the South African Police Service (SAPS; N = 685). The questionnaires were translated into Afrikaans and Setswana and were administered together with the original English version.

Main findings: The results indicated that a four-factor model, consisting of Exhaustion, Cynicism, Professional Effi cacy, and Cognitive Weariness or Burnout, fi tted the data best. The scales did not show measurement invariance for Afrikaans, Setswana and English samples. The reliabilities of the Exhaustion and Professional Effi cacy subscales were acceptable in the three samples.

Practical/managerial implications: The implication of the results of the study under review is that the adapted MBI-GS scores obtained by the English, Afrikaans and Setswana home language speaking participants were not comparable in terms of the different translations of the instrument. Therefore, separate norms have to be developed to assess the extent of burnout experienced by the English, Afrikaans and Setswana home language speaking members of the SAPS who participated in the study. As the translated versions of the adapted MBI-GS are clearly not equivalent, more studies are needed to minimise the semantic differences existing between the different translations of the instrument.

Contribution/Value-add: To date, no research regarding burnout has been conducted in South Africa within the different language groups by means of translated measuring instruments.


Keywords

burnout; construct validity; construct equivalence; reliability; police officers

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