Mental health and related disability among workers: a population-based study

Am J Ind Med. 2006 Jul;49(7):514-22. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20319.


Background: In past decades, the nature of work has undergone significant changes including increased psychological demands and job instability. A stressful psychosocial work environment has been shown to have adverse effects on workers' mental and physical health. This goal of this study is to estimate the prevalence of psychiatric syndromes and related disability in a population-based sample of employed adults and investigate associations between psychiatric syndromes and related disability.

Methods: A random-digit dial provincial wide mental health survey was conducted in Alberta, Canada (n = 5,383). The telephone interview included the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) and the World Health Organization's Disability Assessment Schedule (WHO-DAS-II). In this analysis, participants who were currently employed were included (n = 4,149).

Results: In this population, 6.2% had had at least one MINI-defined psychiatric diagnosis with clinically significant interference. Without consideration of the clinical interference criterion, the prevalence of psychiatric syndromes was higher (33.5%). Psychiatric syndromes were strongly associated with disability. A dose-response relationship between the number of diagnoses and disability was found.

Conclusions: Interventional strategies in the workplace should focus on mental disorders at both the clinical and sub-clinical levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alberta / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disabled Persons / psychology*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Sick Leave
  • Workplace