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Christina Maslach, of the University of California, Berkeley, received the 2020 NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing.

Maslach pioneered the study of job burnout and has spent more than 40 years advancing our understanding of worker wellbeing. Her deep scientific literature reviews have drawn from numerous psychological disciplines to develop a thorough, influential picture of burnout, its effects on workers’ lives, and how these conditions can be mitigated — and in the process improve human health, societal pressures, and job performance.

Among her earliest and most lasting contributions was the development of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), a scale to measure workers’ exhaustion, depersonalization, and sense of diminished personal accomplishment. The original paper proposing this inventory has been cited nearly 6,000 times, and there are now several versions of the MBI for both specific occupations, as well as a more general form.  This work has been highly relevant for the lives of people who work in human services, healthcare, education, and technology industries, among other professions. 

In addition to her research, Maslach’s contributions include her breakthrough books, Burnout:  The Cost of Caring and The Truth About Burnout. The impact of her work is reflected by the official recognition of burnout as an occupational phenomenon with health consequences by the World Health Organization in 2019. 

The NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing has been presented annually since 1979 to recognize authors whose reviews have synthesized extensive and difficult material, rendering a significant service to science and influencing the course of scientific thought. The field rotates among biological, physical, and social sciences and carries with it a $20,000 prize. The NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing was established in 1977 by the gift of Annual Reviews and the Institute for Scientific Information in honor of J. Murray Luck. The award is currently sponsored entirely by Annual Reviews.


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