Stress And Burnout Syndrome vs. Performance Of Referees

Antic T., Curcic Dj., Dikic N., Radivojevic N., Vukasinovic-Vesic M., Andjelkovic M., Baralic I.

Sports Medicine Association of Serbia


In this study we evaluated the level of stress in basketball referees and their performance in the court in terms of how much time they spent in running, walking and standing during the games. We used these parameters to evaluate correlation between performance during the game and level of stress and burnout syndrome among referees.


This study included 30 referees active in the EuroChallenge and the EuroLeague Women. The methodology of this study included two inventories: the self-assessment scale for stress level and Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) adapted for workers in sport. MBI scale consists of three subscales: Emotional Exhaustion (sense of emotional overload), Depersonalization (sense of alienation, loss of empathy and idealism in the work) and Personal Accomplishment subscale (perceptions of their own professional efficiency). The other part of this study visualized and analyzed the referee's movements on the court. This was possible thanks to the use of the ESpor (E-analyze) Software (Ankara Technology Development) that generates data of the position of the referees during a basketball match. We calculated how much time referees spent running, walking and standing during games.


The obtained parameters showed an intermediate level of stress for referees. Six referees had a moderate and one referee had a high level of emotional exhaustion. On the Depersonalization subscale, 15 referees had a moderate level and eight referees even had a high level of depersonalization. We noticed that referees with a higher level of depersonalization were performing at a lower level during the game (they spent less time running compared to other referees in a particular match). We used Independent sample T test and found a statistically significant difference in the level of depersonalization among referees who had the highest and lowest level of running (p=0,012). There was no statistically significant difference in the level of stress among referees in terms of running during the game.

Discussion and conclusions

Referees who had higher level of stress did not run less then referees who were not under stress at all, which could be explained by the fact that many people are relieving from the stress by engaging in high intensity physical activity. Since depersonalization is defined as a sense of alienation, a loss of empathy and idealism in the work it can be concluded that this mental condition can affect performance in the court in terms of less running during the game.


Kate Goodger et al. Burnout in Sport: A Systematic Review The Sport Psychologyst. 2007, 21, 127-151




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