Work disability and depressive disorders: impact on the European population

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Feb;91(13 Suppl 1):S62-8. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31823d4f02.


Objective: Our aim was to study the impact of depressive disorders on work disability to discover the determinants of depression for work disability in the European countries.

Design: The sample was composed of 31,126 individuals from 29 countries included in the 2002 World Health Survey of the World Health Organization. National representative samples of countries from all regions of Europe and with different levels of economic development and health coverage were selected.

Results: Estimates of people not working because of ill health did not differ among European countries in relation to levels of economic development or health coverage. Significant determinants of people with diagnosis of depression not working because of ill health (reference category) versus working were age (odds ratio = 0.97), female sex (odds ratio = 1.71), education (odds ratio = 1.11), marital status (being unmarried indicating less probability), lowest income level, and comorbidity with angina pectoris (odds ratio = 0.51). Moreover, according to previous studies, we found some determinants (comorbidity with other diseases, young age, and unemployment) impacting on health status.

Conclusions: Depression is a substantial cause of work disability and it is a complex phenomenon that involves many variables. Investigation into this relationship should improve, focusing on the role of determinants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disabled Persons / psychology*
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Employment / psychology
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Unemployment / psychology*
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data