Effects of Depression Relative to Other Health Problems

An Analysis Group team including Principal Howard Birnbaum worked with our academic affiliate, Dr. Ronald Kessler of Harvard Medical School, on a study of the comparative and interactive workplace costs of depression relative to other health problems in the workplace. The researchers used the World Health Organization Health and Work Performance Questionnaire to assess self-reported health problems and work performance, and linked the results to pharmacy claims data. They found that depression has the largest individual-level impact on work performance of any condition studied, and that depression is therefore a strong predictor of decrements in performance in the workplace. The study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (July 2008).

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