One type of reaction is burnout—a prolonged response to job stress that is characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism, disengagement, and a lack of personal accomplishment. Teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers, social workers, and others in the human service professions are especially at risk. Faced with relentless job pressures, those who burn out describe themselves as feel- ing drained, frustrated, hardened, apathetic, and lacking in energy and motivation (Leiter et al., 2014; Maslach, 1982). In Japan, the culture of overworking is so prev- alent that the language offers a word that means “death by overwork”— karoshi. Fortunately, the Japanese government has recently implemented policies to limit overtime work. Since then, the annual number of work hours in Japan has actually dropped to below average among developed countries.
At first, research had suggested that burnout is an experience that afflicts women more than men. It now appears that the role of gender is more complex. An analysis of 183 studies has shown that both men and women are potentially susceptible to burnout under bad circumstances—but the symptoms are different. Female employees are 8% more likely than men to become emotionally exhausted in the workplace, feeling overwhelmed and physically drained. However, men are 14% more likely to become depersonalized at work, withdrawing and distancing themselves from clients and coworkers (Purva- nova & Muros, 2010).