• factor analysis;
  • instrument development;
  • maslach burnout inventory;
  • occupational health;
  • psychometric testing



The purpose of this study was to test the factor structure of an Italian version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory for Human Service employees. In addition we examined the reliability and construct validity of the scale.


There is increasing evidence that nurses are at risk of experiencing burnout. Despite the vast international use of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Service Survey, its factor structure and reliability are not beyond question.


In a sample of nurses (= 1613) six alternative factor models of the instrument were tested using confirmatory factor analysis. Furthermore, we examined the invariance of the pattern of factor loadings of the model that better fitted the data across gender groups. To test construct validity, participants completed four subscales of Symptoms Check List 90-R. Internal consistency was evaluated computing Cronbach's alpha estimates of the scales. The study was conducted in 2007 and 2008 in Italy.


The factor analysis provided support for a 20-item version identifying the three original dimensions. The model was found to be factorially invariant between men and women. Correlations between the latent MBI-HSS dimensions and distress variables were in line with theoretical predictions. Reliability was supported by acceptable Cronbach's alpha indexes.


The Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Service Survey has acceptable validity and reliability for measuring burnout among nurses, and can help healthcare managers to offer interventions to reduce burnout among nurses. Limitations of the study and suggestions for further research are highlighted.