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Christina Maslach

Christina Maslach

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Christina Maslach is Professor Emerita of Psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her A.B., magna cum laude, in Social Relations from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1967, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 1971. She has conducted research in a number of areas within social and health psychology. However, she is best known as one of the pioneering researchers on job burnout, and the author of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the most widely used research measure in the burnout field. In addition to numerous articles, her books on this topic include Burnout: The Cost of Caring; the co-edited volume, Professional Burnout: Recent Developments in Theory and Research (with Wilmar Schaufeli); The Truth About Burnout (with Michael Leiter); Preventing Burnout and Building Engagement: A Complete Program for Organizational Renewal (with Michael Leiter), and Banishing Burnout: Six Strategies for Improving Your Relationship with Work (with Michael Leiter). The latter publications are based on Professor Maslach's work as a consultant with various organizations on issues of job burnout. Currently, she is the founding co-editor, with Michael Leiter, of the e-journal, Burnout Research, which launched in 2014. She is also a core researcher with Healthy Workplaces, an interdisciplinary center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Professor Maslach received national recognition in 1997 as "Professor of the Year", an award made by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Among Professor Maslach's other honors are the presidency of the Western Psychological Association; the Distinguished Teaching Award, the Faculty Service Award, and the Berkeley Citation (Berkeley's highest honor) from the University of California at Berkeley; and her selection as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which cited her "For groundbreaking work on the applications of social psychology to contemporary problems"). In 2013, she was given the Lifetime Career Achievement Award by the Work, Stress, and Health international conference ("Presented, with sincere gratitude, in recognition of a lifetime of exceptional contributions leading to a better understanding of the causes, effects, and prevention of stress at work").

Professor Maslach's administrative positions include Faculty Assistant (to the Chancellor) on the Status of Women, and Vice-Chair of the Psychology Department. Previously, she chaired the Chancellor's Commission on Responses to a Changing Student Body and wrote its final report, "Promoting Student Success at Berkeley" (more popularly known as the Maslach Report). She was the Vice-Chair of the Faculty Senate at Berkeley in 1999-2000, and served as Chair in 2000. She served again as Faculty Vice-Chair and Chair in 2011-13. From 2001-2009 she served as the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and then as the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning.

Personal Statement:

My research interests are focused in two major areas: (a) burnout and job stress, and (b) individuation and social influence. An important cross-cutting theme in my recent work is health psychology (and, to a lesser extent, gender roles). My basic approach to research has always been a more broad-based one that integrates both personality and situational variables. I have also been committed to using several different research paradigms in my work. Finally, I have tried to promote cross-national research on burnout and individuation, either by myself or by others.


My current work is focusing on the development of a conceptual model of the burnout process, which articulates the key relationships between personal, social, and contextual variables. Here I am taking an approach to assessing the interaction between person and situation variables in the workplace. I have identified six core dimensions on which there can be a significant mismatch between the person and the workplace, all of which predict higher levels of burnout (these six areas are assessed by the Areas of Worklife Scale). I am focusing on the positive antithesis of burnout, work engagement, as a better framework for developing interventions. I have conducted several longitudinal assessments of burnout and engagement, which are providing opportunities to test both new research hypotheses and new intervention processes. I am also working actively with colleagues around the world, to establish standard translations of the MBI and other measures, so that we can develop a robust program of cross-cultural research.


The recent directions for my work on individuation stem largely from the pattern of results that emerged in a study using archival data. Rather than simply emphasizing the personality factors linked to individuating behaviors (which was the focus of my earliest cross-national research), the findings point to the value of framing these individual behaviors in terms of their social influence. Thus, I have begun to conceptualize individuation not just in terms of "differentness" (and people's willingness to be so), but in terms of "high social impact." This has led to a number of hypotheses with regard to leadership and social influence, some of which are being tested in field settings. Most recently, my graduate students and I have explored the meaning of individuation and differentness in both individualistic and collectivistic cultures.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Gender Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Persuasion, Social Influence

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Journal Articles:

  • Boucher, H. C., & Maslach, C. (2009). Culture and individuation: The role of norms and self-construals. Journal of Social Psychology, 149, 677-693.
  • Goncalo, J. A., Polman, E., & Maslach, C. (2010). Can confidence come too soon? Collective efficacy, conflict and group performance over time. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 113, 13-24.
  • Jenkins, S. R., & Maslach, C. (1994). Psychological health and involvement in interpersonally demanding occupations: A longitudinal perspective. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15, 101-127.
  • Kwan, V. S. Y., Bond, M. H., Boucher, H., Maslach, C., & Gan, Y. (2002). The construct of individuation: More complex in collectivist than in individualist cultures. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 300-310.
  • Leiter, M. P., & Maslach, C. (2009). Nurse turnover: The mediating role of burnout. Journal of Nursing Management, 17, 331-339.
  • Maslach, C. (2011). Engagement research: Some thoughts from a burnout perspective. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 20, 47-52.
  • Maslach, C., & Goldberg, J. (1998). Prevention of burnout: New perspectives. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 7, 63-74.
  • Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2016). Understanding the burnout experience: Recent research and its implications for psychiatry. World Psychiatry, 15, 103-111.
  • Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2008). Early predictors of job burnout and engagement. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 498-512.
  • Maslach, C., Leiter, M. P., & Jackson, S. E. (2012). Making a significant difference with burnout interventions: Researcher and practitioner collaboration. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33, 296-300. [published online 12 October 2011, DOI: 10.1002/job.784]
  • Reevy, G. M., & Maslach, C. (2001). People's use of social support: Gender and personality differences. Sex Roles, 44, 437-459.
  • Whitney, K., Sagrestano, L. M., & Maslach, C. (1994). Establishing the social impact of individuation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 1140-1153.

Other Publications:

Christina Maslach
Department of Psychology
3210 Tolman Hall
University of California
Berkeley, California 94720-1650
United States

  • Phone: (510) 642-5292

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