Patient-reported depression severity measured by the PHQ-9 and impact on work productivity: results from a survey of full-time employees in the United States

J Occup Environ Med. 2013 Mar;55(3):252-8. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31828349c9.


Objective: To examine the burden of depression on work productivity.

Methods: Full-time employees with diagnosed depression were surveyed using the Patient Health Questionnaire for depression severity, and the Health and Work Performance Questionnaire and Work Productivity and Activity Impairment (WPAI) questionnaire for absenteeism and presenteeism.

Results: Of the 1051 employees with depression, 40.3% had no depressive symptoms at the time of the survey, 30.4% had mild depression, 15.8% had moderate depression, 7.8% had moderately severe depression, and 5.8% had severe depression. All levels of depression were associated with decreased work productivity. Presenteeism was positively associated with severity of depression (Health and Work Performance Questionnaire, P < 0.0001; WPAI, P < 0.0001). Absenteeism was significantly positively associated with severity of depression using the WPAI.

Conclusions: Decreased overall productivity was seen at all levels of depression, and as severity increased, presenteeism and absenteeism worsened.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Efficiency*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Report
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States
  • Young Adult