Presentation T O15

T O15 (Oral Presentation):
Return to work after depression-related work disability among employees with and without common chronic conditions

Presented by: Jenni Ervasti

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Ervasti J1, Vahtera J1,2, Pentti J1, Oksanen T1, Ahola K1, Kivekäs T1, Kivimäki M1,3,4, Virtanen M1

  1. Development of Work and Organizations, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  2. Department of Public Health, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
  3. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  4. Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland



Among employees with depression, diagnoses of other psychiatric and somatic conditions are common, but the extent to which these different conditions are relevant in occupational settings remains unknown. Epidemiological studies often adjust for comorbidity, but the specific impact of prevalent or recent psychiatric and somatic condition on the prognosis of depression-related work disability has not previously been studied.


We examined the association of wide range of common chronic conditions (psychiatric disorders other than depression, cardiovascular disease, chronic hypertension, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes, asthma, and cancer) and return to work depression-related disability in a cohort of 10,869 Finnish public sector employees with at least one episode of depression-related work disability. The data included a total of 15,801 disability episodes (ICD-10 diagnoses F32-F34) during January 2005 – December 2011. The dates of episodes were obtained from the national health registers. We used Cox proportional hazard models to examine the associations between the chronic conditions (each condition analyzed separately) and return to work after disability due to depression.


A total of 90% (n=14,186) of the depression-related work disability episodes ended in return to work, median time for return to work being 36 days (interquartile range 20-75). After adjustment for sex, age, socioeconomic status, and type of employment contract, prevalent or recent other psychiatric disorders (Hazard Ratio [HR]=0.79, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 0.75-0.83), cancer (HR=0.70, 95% CI 0.52-0.93), cardiovascular disease (HR=0.77, 95% CI 0.61-0.96), hypertension (HR=0.77, 95% CI 0.68-0.86), diabetes (HR=0.79, 95% CI 0.68-0.93), musculoskeletal disorders (HR=0.82, 95% CI 0.78-0.87), and asthma (HR=0.84, 95% CI 0.75-0.93) were all associated with a lower likelihood of returning to work compared to depression-related work disability episodes without other conditions.


Prevalent or recent other psychiatric and somatic conditions appear to delay the return to work of employees with depression-related work disability. These findings suggest that the burden of other chronic diseases should be taken into account in evaluating the outcome of depression-related work disability.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
13:45 - 15:15 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (T O13 - T O24 and Seminar 5)
Session: Work Disability in workers with mental disorders
Room B