The objective of this study was to investigate the contribution of burnout to the association between job strain and depression.
A representative sample of 3270 Finnish employees aged 30 to 64 years responded to the Maslach Burnout Inventory–General Survey and the Beck Depression Inventory and participated in the Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
High strain compared with low strain was associated with 7.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.6–9.7) times higher odds of burnout, 3.8 (95% CI = 2.8–5.1) times higher odds of depressive symptoms, and 1.7 (95% CI = 1.1–2.6) times higher odds of depressive disorders. The risk for depressive symptoms and for depressive disorders of high strain was reduced by 69% or more after adjusting for burnout.
Burnout is strongly related to job strain and may in part mediate the association between job strain and depression.