Burnout and depression in Australian psychologists: The moderating role of self-compassion

Donna McCade, Amie Frewen, Daniel B. Fassnacht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-122
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2021


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