Introduction: To summarize evidence on workplace-based work disability prevention (WDP) interventions in workers with common mental health conditions (CMHCs). Primary outcomes of interest were work absence duration and work functioning; secondary outcomes were quality of life, and economic costs.
Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search in 5 electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Web of Science) for studies published from 2007 to 2009. Two reviewers screened for studies: (1) Targeting workers with CMHCs absent from, or struggling at, work; (2) evaluating workplace-based WDP interventions; (3) assessing our primary outcome(s); and (4) with controlled trials. Quality assessment (using 29 criteria) was performed by two reviewers.
Results: Our search yielded 671 abstracts: 8 eligible studies and of sufficient quality. We identified three main intervention elements: (a) Facilitation of access to clinical treatment; (b) Workplace-based high-intensity psychological intervention; and (c) Facilitation of navigation through the disability management system. Moderate evidence was found that facilitation of treatment improved work functioning, quality of life and economic outcomes, with limited evidence for work absence duration. Moderate evidence was found that psychological interventions, primarily cognitive-behavioral therapy, improved work functioning, quality of life, and economic outcomes. Moderate evidence indicated that facilitation of navigation through the disability management system improved work absence duration.
Conclusions: Workplace-based interventions could improve work disability outcomes for workers with CMHCs. Facilitation of access to clinical treatment, and workplace-based high-intensity psychological intervention were most effective in improving work functioning and quality of life, and in reducing costs.