Mindfulness as a mediating factor between empathy and burnout in people of caring professions

Dessa Bergen-Cico, Simon Surguladze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People working in caring professions are at increased risk
of experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout. The aims
of this study were to investigate potential mediating effects
of mindfulness on burnout. This is a cross-sectional study
of mental health professionals working in psychologically
challenging settings. Thirty-seven professionals (all female)
were assessed for empathy, trait mindfulness and Professional
Quality of Life (ProQOL) measure that includes
subscales of Burnout, Compassion satisfaction and Compassion
fatigue/Secondary trauma. Pathway analysis was
applied to test potential direct and indirect effects of empathy
on subscales of ProQOL and the mediating effects of
mindfulness on those relationships. Our study demonstrate
that empathy had no independent direct effect on burnout.
There was a significant negative indirect effect of empathy
on burnout, with trait mindfulness serving as a mediating
factor. Moreover, trait mindfulness also had an independent
negative effect on burnout.
Our results provide evidence for the role of trait mindfulness
in the relationship between empathy and burnout in professionals.
Trait mindfulness appears to be a protective factor
against burnout.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Psychoanalysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


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