Burnout oder Depression? Erfahrungen aus der Burnout-Sprechstunde in der Hochschulambulanz.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: With the increasing presence of burnout symptoms in clinical and social everyday life, it is necessary to closely examine patients with symptoms of burnout and to classify their respective symptoms in the spectrum of mental disorders.

METHODS: The sample includes 83 patients who presented themselves in a burnout consultation of the university outpatient clinic of the University Hospital Dresden. As part of the diagnostic examination, the patients completed the Structured Clinical Interview (SKID) and a comprehensive questionnaire diagnostic (PHQ-D; MBI, BMI) as well as a clinical interview.

RESULTS: The clinical interview led to a burnout diagnosis in 35% of the patients, although for 1/3 of these patients no SKID diagnosis could be affirmed. However, a large proportion of the patients presenting at the university outpatient clinic suffered from a mental disorder, with depressive disorders accounting for the majority of complaints. Patients with burnout differed in a few points from patients with depressive symptoms: They scored lower in the MBI questionnaire and in the scales of mental and physical stress symptoms (p=.031) and boreout (p=.037). In addition, patients diagnosed with burnout were significantly less likely to report previous mental disorders requiring treatment (p=.017).

DISCUSSION: Previous standardized diagnostic instruments are less able to differentiate between burnout and depressive disorders. The present study supports the hypothesis that burnout and depression are part of the same spectrum of symptoms, with patients with burnout being less distressed than patients with depressive disorders.

CONCLUSION: There appears to be a significant overlap between depression and symptoms of burnout making the differentiation difficult in everyday clinical practice and calling for a accurate diagnostic.

Translated title of the contribution
Burnout or Depression? - Field Experience from a University Outpatient Clinic


Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)410-417
Number of pages8
JournalPsychotherapie, Psychosomatik, medizinische Psychologie : PPmP
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85128976636
unpaywall 10.1055/a-1770-4571
Mendeley 355c74e0-f591-332a-a629-d5272d32a737


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Humans, Depression/diagnosis, Burnout, Professional/diagnosis, Burnout, Psychological, Surveys and Questionnaires, Ambulatory Care Facilities, Burnout, Exhaustion, Depression, Depressive Spectrum, Clinical Diagnosis, Burnout, Clinical Diagnosis, Depression, Depressive Spectrum, Exhaustion