There is no consensus on whether burnout constitutes a depressive condition or an original entity requiring specific medical and legal recognition. In this study, we examined burnout–depression overlap using 14 samples of individuals from various countries and occupational domains (N = 12,417). Meta-analytically pooled disattenuated correlations indicated (a) that exhaustion—burnout’s core—is more closely associated with depressive symptoms than with the other putative dimensions of burnout (detachment and efficacy) and (b) that the exhaustion–depression association is problematically strong from a discriminant validity standpoint (r = .80). The overlap of burnout’s core dimension with depression was further illuminated in 14 exploratory structural equation modeling bifactor analyses. Given their consistency across countries, languages, occupations, measures, and methods, our results offer a solid base of evidence in support of the view that burnout problematically overlaps with depression. We conclude by outlining avenues of research that depart from the use of the burnout construct.
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