Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Cynthia McRae


competency, depression, meaning, mental illness, psychologists, stigma


While depression is considered the most common mental illness regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, compared to research on the general population, depression among psychologists has received little attention. However, as they are one of the major mental health care professionals, psychologists' mental health could greatly affect their clients' mental health, which raises competency and ethical concerns regarding their work as clinicians. In order to learn more about depression in this group, questionnaires were mailed to 800 randomly selected psychologists in the state of Colorado to examine the prevalence of depression among psychologists, how they dealt with their own depression, their concerns regarding competency and ethics, and the existential meaning of their depression. Nine participants responded to an invitation to be individually interviewed regarding their personal experience of depression.

The results indicated a higher prevalence of depression among psychologists than in the general population. However, no significant gender differences regarding the prevalence of depression were found. The majority of psychologists reported being aware of their own depression, however, regardless of their expertise, several reported that they were not aware of their own depression. The majority of psychologists accepted the diagnosis either positively or objectively. However, some accepted it negatively, expressing such feelings as shame. The majority of psychologists who experienced depression eventually sought treatment. However, one third of the psychologists did not seek treatment, but instead utilized their own coping skills. A few psychologists mentioned a confidentiality concern as a reason for not seeking treatment.

Regarding competency, most psychologists did not think their own depression interfered with their professional competence. Regarding ethical concerns, nearly half of the psychologists answered it is ethical to practice as long as the psychologist is aware of his/her symptoms and limitations. One third of the psychologists answered the capacity to practice depends on the severity of the depression. Although most psychologists rated their experience of depression positively, stating that it enhanced their understanding of their clients, personal interviews revealed that a stigma about depression or mental illness in general still exists among psychologists. Most of the interviewed psychologists stated that they were very cautious about disclosing their experience of depression to their colleagues due to a concern for their reputation.


Copyright is held by the author.


Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Akira Murata

File size

153 p.

File format





Counseling psychology, Clinical psychology