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Impact of Depression on Work Performance Measured

Study finds medical and vocational interventions may help employers and employees

FRIDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Employees with depression are more likely to have time off from work and have impaired work performance, according to a study in the January/February issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Debra Lerner, Ph.D., of Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues screened 14,268 employed adults aged 18 to 62 years, of whom 286 with depression and 193 controls were enrolled in the study.

Surveys at baseline, six, 12 and 18 months showed depression was associated with significantly worse absenteeism and presenteeism. The researchers note that participants who reported working when they should not, such as during times of illness, were more likely to have severe depression, poorer physical health, and work that was psychologically demanding. In addition, these findings have implications for health promotion efforts.

"Generally, the medical care settings where adults receive depression treatment do not have the expertise or resources available to provide services that address work issues," the authors write. "Additional services might include vocational counseling, job redesign, and/or stress management; strategies that could conceivably help workers maintain their productivity while recovering from depression."

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