Objective: The primary aim of this research was to explore the relationship between burnout and depression among Australian psychologists, and to investigate the role of self-compassion in this relationship.
Method: A sample of 248 psychologists (average 41 years old; 81.1% female) currently working in Australia completed an on-line survey including measures of burnout (Copenhagen Burnout Inventory), depression (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale), and self-compassion (Self-Compassion Scale – Short Form).
Results: In total 69 psychologists (27.8%) met criteria for burnout, while 42 (16.9%) reported at least mild depressive symptoms. Burnout and depression were significantly associated with each other (r = .44), while negative medium associations were found between self-compassion and burnout and depression (r = .48), respectively. A hierarchical regression analysis revealed self-compassion moderated the relationship between burnout and depression; psychologists with high levels of burnout and low to moderate levels of self-compassion reported significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms.
Conclusions: The current results indicate that self-compassion may act as a protective factor against the effects of depression and burnout. Given elevated burnout and depressive symptoms reported by Australian psychologists, the development and promotion of self-compassion focused self-care practices for psychologists may be beneficial and warrants further research.