Why are Israelis less burned out?

Ayala Malach Pines

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Life in Israel is very stressful. Since its establishment in 1948 Israel has gone through five major wars, and even during times of peace civilians live with the constant threat of terrorist activity. Despite this and other stresses, Israelis report consistently lower levels of burnout than Americans. This paper proposes an existential perspective in an attempt to explain this curious phenomenon. According to the existential perspective, the root cause of burnout lies in people's need to believe that their lives are meaningful. It is suggested that Israelis are less burned out, not despite, but because of the constant reminders to the threat to their existence. The low levels of Israeli burnout are demonstrated using a crosscultural Israeli-American comparison in three occupational groups: teachers, nurses, and managers. In addition, interviews with a teacher a nurse, and a manager who worked in both countries are presented. These data provide tentative support for the existential perspective and point to the importance of a cross-cultural study of burnout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Psychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2004


  • American
  • Burnout
  • Israeli
  • Managers
  • Nurses
  • Teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)


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