In the present study, burnout symptoms (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment) were hypothesized to occur among male and female nurses who are low in communal orientation and feel they invest more in their relationships with patients than they receive in return. Communal orientation refers to the desire to give and receive benefits in response to the needs of and out of concern for others. Furthermore, it was expected that the perception of imbalance would be more strongly related to depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment among women than among men. The sample consisted of 194 full time working nurses (48.5% males, 51.5% females). Burnout was measured with the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). The results show that the burnout syndrome is more widespread among: (a) subjects, particularly women, who perceive an imbalance in their relationships with patients; (b) subjects low in communal orientation; and (c) subjects who both perceive an imbalance and are low in communal orientation. The results are discussed in the context of theoretical and practical implications.