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We investigated whether burnout and depression differed in terms of public stigma and help-seeking attitudes and behaviors. Secondarily, we examined the overlap of burnout and depressive symptoms. A total of 1046 French schoolteachers responded to an Internet survey in November–December 2015. The survey included measures of public stigma, help-seeking attitudes and behaviors, burnout and depressive symptoms, self-rated health, neuroticism, extraversion, history of anxiety or depressive disorder, social desirability, and socio-demographic variables. The burnout label appeared to be less stigmatizing than the depression label. In either case, however, fewer than 1% of the participants exhibited stigma scores signaling agreement with the proposed stigmatizing statements. Help-seeking attitudes and behaviors did not differ between burnout and depression. Participants considered burnout and depression similarly worth-treating. A huge overlap was observed between the self-report, time-standardized measures of burnout and depressive symptoms (disattenuated correlation: .91). The overlap was further evidenced in a confirmatory factor analysis. Thus, while burnout and depression as syndromes are unlikely to be distinct, how burnout and depression are socially represented may differ. To our knowledge, this study is the first to compare burnout- and depression-related stigma and help-seeking in the French context. Cross-national, multi-occupational studies examining different facets of stigma are needed.
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This work was originally published in Psychiatry Research, available at doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.08.025.