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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

On-line version ISSN 2071-0763
Print version ISSN 0258-5200


MARAIS, Carin; MOSTERT, Karina  and  ROTHMANN, Sebastiaan. The psychometrical properties of translated versions of the Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2009, vol.35, n.1, pp.175-182. ISSN 2071-0763.

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 scientifically 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 Efficacy, and Cognitive Weariness or Burnout, fitted the data best. The scales did not show measurement invariance for Afrikaans, Setswana and English samples. The reliabilities of the Exhaustion and Professional Efficacy 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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