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J Clin Psychol. 2016 Jan;72(1):22-37. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22229. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

Burnout and Depression: Two Entities or One?

Author information

1
The City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
2
Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Neuch√Ętel.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this study was to examine the overlap in burnout and depression.

METHOD:

The sample comprised 1,386 schoolteachers (mean [M]age = 43; Myears taught = 15; 77% women) from 18 different U.S. states. We assessed burnout, using the Shirom-Melamed Burnout Measure, and depression, using the depression module of the Patient Health Questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Treated dimensionally, burnout and depressive symptoms were strongly correlated (.77; disattenuated correlation, .84). Burnout and depressive symptoms were similarly correlated with each of 3 stress-related factors, stressful life events, job adversity, and workplace support. In categorical analyses, 86% of the teachers identified as burned out met criteria for a provisional diagnosis of depression. Exploratory analyses revealed a link between burnout and anxiety.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provides evidence that past research has underestimated burnout-depression overlap. The state of burnout is likely to be a form of depression. Given the magnitude of burnout-depression overlap, treatments for depression may help workers identified as "burned out."

KEYWORDS:

burnout; depression; depressive symptoms; job adversity; occupational stress; social support

PMID:
26451877
DOI:
10.1002/jclp.22229
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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