Original ArticleSDefense Styles Mediate the Association Between Empathy and Burnout Among NursesFitzgerald-Yau, Natasha BA, MSc, PsyD; Egan, Jonathan BA, MA, MPsychSc, PsyD, PGCTLHEAuthor Information Department of Clinical Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Galway, Ireland. Send reprint requests to Natasha Fitzgerald-Yau, BA, MSc, PsyD, Department of Clinical Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Arts Millennium Building, University Road, Galway, Ireland. E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: July 2018 - Volume 206 - Issue 7 - p 555-561 doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000837 Buy Metrics Abstract Research has extensively identified empathic skills as essential in health trainings, policies, and recommendations. However, there have been conflicting views of the impact of empathy on burnout. Some studies contend that empathy serves a protective role, whereas other studies have shown that burnout leads to a diminished capacity to empathize. To date, studies have not yet explored whether defense styles mediate associations between empathy and burnout. A total of 442 nurses completed questionnaire measures of empathy, burnout, and defense mechanisms as part of a large-scale research study on nurse burnout. Findings reflected very high levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization among the nursing staff. The nurses in this study endorsed a predominantly immature defense style. In addition, immature defense styles mediated the association between empathy and emotional exhaustion and between empathy and depersonalization. The study provides further knowledge about the role of defense styles in nurse burnout and empathy. Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.