Occupational performance problems in people with depression and anxiety

Scand J Occup Ther. 2021 Feb 11;1-11. doi: 10.1080/11038128.2021.1882562. Online ahead of print.


Background: Depression and anxiety often reduce people's ability to cope with everyday occupations. There is a lack of knowledge about such problems in people of working age with depression and anxiety.

Aim: To describe which problems people with depression or anxiety disorders experience when performing everyday occupations and which occupations are affected.

Materials and methods: Data based on the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure was used in this cross-sectional study. A total of 118 participants aged 18-65 years, with depression or anxiety, were recruited from primary healthcare and general mental healthcare services. The data were analysed with descriptive statistics and directed content analysis.

Results: The participants rated a low level of occupational performance, and their satisfaction with performance even lower. They described a great number of problems with their everyday occupations. The most frequent problem areas concerned household management, socialization and personal care. Detailed descriptions of which type of problem they experienced during everyday occupations are included.

Conclusions: This study provides knowledge of which problems people with depression and anxiety disorders experience in everyday occupations within self-care, productivity, as well as leisure. Furthermore, they rate performance and satisfaction with performance of the five occupations they find the most important to change in everyday life.

Keywords: Activities in daily life; adult; cross-sectional design; mental health; occupational therapy.