Depression in the workplace: a systematic review of evidence-based prevention strategies

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2012 Jan;85(1):1-11. doi: 10.1007/s00420-011-0634-7. Epub 2011 Apr 2.


Background: Depression is one of the most common mental disorders, causing enormous personal and economic burden. In its early stages, however, it is the most manageable of mental disorders. The workplace, where a large proportion of the adult population can be reached, might be a good setting for prevention interventions that target depression directly.

Aims: Identify evidence-based indicated/secondary prevention strategies for depression in the workplace.

Methods: Systematic review of articles published until February 2010 using PubMed, EbscoHost and the Cochrane Library. Studies were selected based on different inclusion criteria, such as diagnosis of depression with validated screening instruments and presence of a control group.

Results: A total of 9,173 articles were found. One evaluated intervention study in the workplace met all inclusion criteria (French APRAND programme). The intervention, which combined the provision of diagnosis and psychoeducation, had a positive effect on people with depression, with a significant trend towards chances of recovery or remission after 1 year. The remaining studies did not meet the predefined inclusion criteria of this systematic review.

Conclusion: The findings are quite sobering given the high prevalence of depression and the individual and societal burden caused by it. More tailor-made interventions in the workplace targeting depression directly are needed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Workplace / psychology*