Comorbidity of physical and mental disorders and the effect on work-loss days

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2005 Jun;111(6):436-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2005.00513.x.


Objective: To examine the association between physical and mental disorders and the separate and joint effect of physical and mental disorders on work-loss.

Method: Data was derived from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study. This was a general population study in which 7076 adults, aged between 18 and 64 years, were assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Medically treated physical disorders and work-loss were assessed using self-reports.

Results: All physical disorders, except injury caused by accident, were significantly related to anxiety and mood disorders, but only weakly related to substance use disorders. Both physical and mental disorders were significantly related to work-loss; mental disorders more so than physical disorders. Physical-mental (PM) comorbidity leads to a mainly additive increase in work-loss.

Conclusion: PM comorbidity is very common in the general population and leads to a greater absenteeism from work than pure disorders that also cause personal and social problems.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sinusitis / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*