My burn-out
My burn-out

Is there a typical profile of a person affected by burnout?

As a reminder, burnout affects men as well as women, business leaders as well as employees, housewives and adolescents. Therefore there is not necessarily a typical profile of the person who will be affected by burnout. But it is possible to determine characteristics common to these profiles.

No official figures can be found to date, but it is estimated that 15% to 30% of the working population will experience burnout during their lifetime!

Maslow’s pyramid

The pyramid of needs, or Maslow’s pyramid, is a pyramid representation of the hierarchy of needs in humans. This representation is sometimes criticized by certain scientists but it will illustrate our remarks well here.

This pyramid ranks human needs in order of importance on five levels. So when one need is satisfied, humans will seek to satisfy the next need or create new ones.

Physiological needs

At the base of the pyramid can be found the primary or physiological needs such as eating, drinking, having a roof to rest, reproduce and raise children.

Security needs

Security needs arise from everyone’s aspiration to feel physically and morally protected. These are complex needs in that they cover an objective part – our safety and that of our family – and a subjective part linked to our fears, and our anticipation of potential dangers, whether they are rational or not. Here can be found, for example, housing, sufficient resources to live, security (fear of violence or war), health.

The needs of belonging

This criterion corresponds to the human interactions that one maintains and which translate into friendship, love, belonging to a group so as not to feel isolated or, worse, rejected.

Need for esteem

The need for esteem corresponds to the needs for consideration, good reputation and recognition, glory, success … ultimately the gaze of others on us. It is at this stage that it is possible to measure self-confidence.

The need for self-fulfillment

The need for self-fulfillment corresponds to the need to realize oneself, to exploit and to enhance one’s personal potential in all areas of life.

This need can take different forms depending on the individual.

To sum up, this is where the person decides who they want to be and what they want to do with their life.

All these needs are deeply-rooted in us and are often exacerbated by advertising, new means of communication and the look of others. When these behaviors are no longer mastered, it can lead to a loss of self-respect and a tendancy to test one’s physical and psychological limits.

The pressure arising from the will, even unconscious, to fulfill these needs often leads a person to a very important state of stress or even to burn-out.

The most concerned are therefore the most enduring

While obviously our method is not an exact science, one can still say that the typical profile of a person affected by burnout could meet some of the following criteria:

  • High performers
  • Those who expect a lot from life (even too much)
  • Competitive people
  • Perfectionists
  • Those who “never let go”
  • Workaholics
  • Demanding persons and above all those who are demanding with themselves
  • People who are “on a mission”, the people that psychology calls “saviors”
  • High potentials
  • People in need of recognition and who will work extra hard to succeed
  • People who refuse to take breaks and are always raring to go

Who are these people?

If we must therefore determine a typical profile of the persons affected by burnout, the following people would often be the first to be affected.

Employees or business leaders

Burnout is rife in the professional world. The pressure, the hectic pace, sometimes the uncertainty to which people are subjected to in their professional life lead to very intense levels of stress.


Burnout is also rampant in the family sphere. There are many housewives, exhausted mothers who never have a minute’s rest, who are committed to always doing better for their children, for everyone while completely forgetting themselves. So it’s easy to imagine that sometimes the red line is crossed.


Today more and more adolescents are affected by burnout. They sleep less, they are permanently connected to phones, tablets, video games, etc. This over-load leads to a drastic reduction in their rest time. The body and the mind are exhausted and then give in.

Please feel free to ask any questions or share your story on our community forum. You will certainly help a lot of people understand what is happening to them.

Véronique About


An entrepreneur and sophrologist, I graduated from CEAS in Paris and from the Sophrology Academy in Ashford, which is a member of FEPS (the Federation of Sophrology Centers), I specialized in issues of stress and burn-out. Do not hesitate to contact me, for any questions or request for support in sophrology.