Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



Our reexamination of the symptoms and main measure of vital exhasution (VE) suggests that the overlap of VE with depression has been problematically underestimated due to inconsistent comparisons and blindness to definitional similarities. In our view, the case of VE is emblematic of a trend toward construct proliferation. Many ‘‘new’’ constructs are introduced in the literature precipitously, with insufficient examination of their added value, and based on ‘‘linguistic contortions’’ and anecdotal evidence rather than robust empirical findings and sound theorizing. Such constructs are often ‘‘distinguished’’ from existing ones on the basis of specious arguments and missing-the-point conclusions. This is for instance the case when Appels and Mulder overlook the fact that depressed mood and lowered self-esteem cannot be invoked to distinguish depression from VE because depressed mood and lowered self-esteem are constituents of demoralization, a component of VE. We plead for a greater respect of the principle of parsimony, in the interest of theoretical clarity and effective transdisciplinary communication.


This work was originally published in European Psychiatry, available at doi:org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2017.04.007



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.