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Within the field‐dominating, multidimensional theory of burnout, burnout is viewed as a work‐specific condition. As a consequence, the burnout syndrome cannot be investigated outside of the occupational domain. In the present paper, this restrictive view of burnout's scope is criticized and a rationale to decide between a work‐specific and a generic approach to burnout is presented. First, the idea that a multidimensional conception of burnout implies a work‐restricted scope is deconstructed. Second, it is shown that the burnout phenomenon cannot be confined to work because chronic, unresolvable stress – the putative cause of burnout – is not limited to work. In support of an integrative view of health, it is concluded that the field‐dominating, multidimensional theory of burnout should abandon as groundless the idea that burnout is a specifically job‐related phenomenon and define burnout as a multi‐domain syndrome. The shift from a work‐specific to a generic approach would allow both finer analysis and wider synthesis in research on chronic stress and burnout.


This work was originally published in Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, available at doi:10.1111/sjop.12119.



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