A reliability generalization meta-analysis of coefficient alpha for the Maslach burnout inventory

Denna L. Wheeler, Matt Vassar, Jody A. Worley, Laura L.B. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to synthesize internal consistency reliability for the subscale scores on the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). The authors addressed three research questions: (a) What is the mean subscale score reliability for the MBI across studies? (b) What factors are associated with observed variance in MBI subscale score reliability? (c) What are the implications for appropriate use based on MBI subscale mean internal consistency estimates? Of the 221 studies reviewed, 84 provided alpha coefficients and were used in the current analysis. Results suggest that mean alpha estimates across subscales generally fell within the.70 to.80 range. Scale variance and language most often accounted for the variance in coefficient alpha, although some variations were apparent between subscales. Of the three MBI subscales, Personal Accomplishment and Depersonalization mean alpha estimates were well below recommended levels for high-stakes decisions, such as the diagnosis of burnout syndrome. Recommendations for the use of the current version of the instrument's scale scores as well as suggestions for scale refinement are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-244
Number of pages14
JournalEducational and Psychological Measurement
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • MBI
  • burnout
  • meta-analysis
  • reliability generalization


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