Burnout and depression are not identical twins: is decline of superiority a distinguishing feature?

V. Brenninkmeijer, N.W. Van Yperen, Abraham P. Buunk

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There has been considerable debate about the difference between burnout and depression. To shed more light on this issue, we explored whether depressive symptomatology and the components of burnout are differentially related to feelings of superiority. Based on the clinical picture of depression, which seems to reflect a general sense of defeat, it was expected that individuals high in burnout and low in superiority would experience depressive symptoms. Results confirmed our expectation. Furthermore, depression was significantly related to superiority, whereas no link was observed between the core symptom of burnout (i.e., emotional exhaustion) and superiority. It is concluded that depression and burnout are closely related, but that they are certainly not identical twins. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-880
Number of pages8
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5-Apr-2001


  • burnout
  • depression
  • perception of superiority
  • defeat
  • evolutionary

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