Research project presents update of burnout definition and interesting figures


A questionnaire that assesses the risk of burnout based on a new definition: this is the result of a three-year project by the Labour, Organisational and Staff Psychology research group at the KU Leuven. This also includes remarkable research results. After all, 1 in 6 working Flemish people is at risk of burnout.

The Burnout Assessment Tool (BAT) estimates the risk of a burnout by asking 33 questions. This is done in three zones, i.e. safe (green), risky (orange), and alarming (red). Participants can find out at a glance how likely it is that they will burn out once they have completed this questionnaire. 

1 in 6 in the danger zone

The concept of the questionnaire is not new. “The method has been around for more than 30 years,” says Koen Van Hulst, a Psychosocial Aspects officer at Mensura. “But due to all kinds of new insights, an update was certainly necessary.” Together with practical experts, the researchers developed a contemporary definition of burnout. This serves as the starting point for the updated questionnaire.

According to the new definition, burnout has four core symptoms:

1. Exhaustion, both physical and mental
2. Mental distance, strong aversion to work
3. Cognitive dysregulation, such as memory, attention, and concentration disorders
4. Emotional dysregulation, uncontrollable, extreme emotional reactions

And three secondary symptoms:

1. Psychological stress complaints, such as sleeping problems, worrying, or panic attacks
2. Psychosomatic stress complaints, physical complaints of psychological origin
3. Depressed mood, feeling gloomy and dejected

“Participants get an insight into their stress level in a way that’s scientifically founded,” says Koen. No unnecessary luxury: a survey with the new tool among 1,500 working Flemish people showed that more than 1 in 6 is in the danger zone; 9.5% are at risk of burnout and 7.6% are most likely already burned out.


Ensuring employee mental health?

Mensura supports organisations preventively to tackle psychosocial risks. As a first step, we recommend the Sonar method to map psychosocial risks. In addition, an appropriate action plan can be developed in mutual consultation.

Would you like information about our approach to psychosocial well-being? Then contact us on +32 2 549 71 00 or via

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