Research by City College of New York psychology Professor Irvin Schonfeld in the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership suggests a strong connection between burnout and depression.

In a study of more than 5,500 school teachers to estimate the prevalence of depressive disorders in workers with burnout, 90% of the subjects identified as burned out met diagnostic criteria for depression.

The study also examined the overlap of burnout with the atypical subtype of depression. Features of atypical depression were observed in 63% of the burned-out participants with major depression.

“The study suggests that the burnout– depression overlap has been largely underestimated,” said Professor Schonfeld, whose collaborators included University of Franche-Comté psychologists Renzo Bianchi and Eric Laurent. “Atypical depression may account for a substantial part of this overlap. Overall, our findings point to depressive symptoms and depressive disorders as central concerns in the management of burnout. The clinical research on treatments for depression offers solutions that may help workers identified as
burned out.”

A paper on the study, “Is Burnout a Depressive Disorder? A Reexamination With Special Focus on Atypical Depression,” appears in the current issue of “International Journal of Stress Management.”