Friday Factoid: Connection Between Work-Related Burnout and Depression



The International Journal of Stress Management found a link between atypical depression and work-related burnout. The researcher studied over 5,500 school teachers and discovered that 90% of those school teachers who were identified as burned out also met the diagnostic criteria for depression. Furthermore, he found that 63% of those individuals had atypical depression features.


What are typical depression features? According to the DSM-5, the criteria for the “with atypical features” specifier for Major Depressive Disorder or Persistent Depressive Disorder are as follows for (occurring during the majority of the days during an episode):

A. Mood reactivity (i.e. mood brightens in response to actual or potential positive events.

B. Two (or more) of the following:

1. Significant weight gain or increase in appetite.

2. Hypersomnia.

3. Leaden paralysis (i.e. heavy, leaden feelings in arms or legs).

4. A long-standing pattern of interpersonal rejection sensitivity (not limited to episodes of mood disturbance) that results in significant social or occupational impairment.

C. Criteria are not met for “with melancholic features” or “with catatonia” during the same episode.”


The researcher stated that the link between work-related burnout and depression has been “largely underestimated” and noted that the findings suggest that depressive symptoms may be “central concerns” in managing and working with burnout.


Nauert, R. (2014). Work burnout linked to atypical depression. PsychCentral.


Brittany Best, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern


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