Award for meta-analysis on the relationship between job stressors and burnout

Researchers of Mainz University and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin receive the 2022 Schmidt-Hunter Meta-Analysis Award for a publication in Psychological Bulletin

19 May 2022

Dr. Christina Guthier and Professor Christian Dormann of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) together with Professor Manuel Völkle of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin have won the 2022 Schmidt-Hunter Meta-Analysis Award for their work on the reciprocal relationship between job stressors and burnout. The prize is awarded annually to the best meta-analysis published in the field of industrial and organizational psychology  during the previous three calendar years. The prize is worth US$ 1,500. This year's prize was awarded at the Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) in Seattle, USA, on April 27, 2022.

In their article entitled "Reciprocal Effects Between Job Stressors and Burnout: A Continuous Time Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies", the three award winners demonstrate that there are reciprocal relationships between job stressors and burnout. At the same time, they conclude – in contrast with the generally accepted view – that burnout far more significantly impacts on the perception of job stressors than the other way around.

The meta-analysis included 48 longitudinal studies of burnout and job stressors. A total of 26,319 subjects were surveyed overall. The surveys were undertaken between 1986 and 2019 in many different countries, mainly in Europe but also in Israel, the USA, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, China, and Taiwan.

"We used a new statistical method to aggregate the longitudinal data in our meta-analysis," explained Dr. Christina Guthier. The information provided by longitudinal studies is particularly useful in comparison with that obtained through other survey methods as ethical reasons make it often difficult to conduct an appropriate experimental approach to collecting data on job stress and burnout. In addition, it is easier to identify cause-and-effect relationships by means of meta-analyses of longitudinal data.

New analytical approach: Continuous Time Meta-Analysis (CoTiMA)

The researchers used a new and distinctive technique developed in Mainz for their award-winning work: Continuous Time Meta-Analysis (CoTiMA) makes it possible to take into account many different forms of longitudinal studies, accounting for the often present variation of time intervals and study designs used for measuring variables of interest.

"We are delighted at receiving this award, particularly as the advantages and potential offered by our CoTiMA method will now become more widely known in the social science community. The general relevance of our technique is evidenced by the fact that our article was not published in a journal dedicated specifically to organizational psychology but was accepted by the Psychological Bulletin. This is among the five leading journals specializing in psychology and is one of the few journals in the field of business and management that enjoys an outstanding ranking," emphasized Professor Christian Dormann.