By expressing empathy toward clients, many doctors risk becoming extremely invested in clients' well-being and possible future job burnout.
Gleichgerrcht assessed how different forms of empathy affected overall well-being in physicians by looking at empathic concern, emotional awareness, personal distress, altruistic behavior, and emotional burnout in a sample of 7, 584 doctors. He found that the doctors who practiced empathic concern and kept their altruism in perspective were more likely to report compassion satisfaction as a result. In contrast, those who reported secondaryposttraumatic stress and burnout as a result of empathy also reported high levels of compassion fatigue. When Gleichgerrcht looked at other risk factors, he found that women were more likely than men to report high levels of alexithymia and distress. Being unable to identify and express their emotions left these participants more vulnerable to feelings of devaluation and negative affect.