Presentation T O17

T O17 (Oral Presentation):
Anticipated and experienced discrimination in the work setting, reported by people with major depressive disorder in 35 countries

Presented by: Evelien P.M. Brouwers


Brouwers EPM1, Mathijsen JJP1, Van Bortel T2, Thornicroft G3, Lasalvia A4, Zoppei S4, Bonetto C4, Wahlbeck K5, Vasseur-Bacle S6, Van Audehove C7, Reneses B8, Lopez-Ibor JJ8, Germanavicius A9, Economou M10, Lanfredi M11, Sartorius N12, Bouwmans J13, Goldie I14, Knifton L15, Quinn N15, Ucok A16, Van Weeghel J1,13, ASPEN/INDIGO Study Group

  1. Tilburg University, department Tranzo, Tilburg, the Netherlands
  2. University of Cambridge, Institute of Public Health, UK
  3. King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, UK
  4. Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Psychiatry, University of Verona, Italy
  5. National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Vasa, Finland
  6. Etablissement Santé Public Mentale Lille-Métropole, Armentières, France
  7. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  8. Instituto de Psiquiatria, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Clinico San Carlos, Centro para la Investigación Biomédica en Red en Salud Mental, Madrid, Spain
  9. Vilnius University, Lithuania
  10. University Mental Health Institute, Athens, Greece
  11. Instituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Centro San Giovanni Di Dio-Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy
  12. Association of the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes, Geneva, Switzerland
  13. Stichting Kenniscentrum Phrenos, Utrecht, Netherlands
  14. Mental Health Foundation, Glasgow, UK
  15. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  16. Foundation of Psychiatry Clinic of Medical Faculty of Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey



Major depressive disorder is the second leading cause of disability worldwide. International studies have shown that employers express a range of concerns about hiring an employee with mental illness. Anticipated and experienced discrimination may discourage workers with depression from applying for work or putting effort in keeping their jobs. Also, employer attitudes are important for workplace accommodations, which can prevent long term absenteeism. Most studies on workplace discrimination have focused on less common illness (e.g. schizophrenia), rather than on depression. Three research questions were formulated: 1. To what extent do people with depression anticipate and experience discrimination when trying to find or keep paid employment? 2. Do people with depression in high, middle and low income countries differ regarding anticipated and experienced discrimination? 3. Are discrimination experiences related to outcome (i.e. having paid work) in people with depression?


Data were gathered in a larger study by the ASPEN (Anti Stigma Program European Network) and INDIGO (International Study of Discrimination and Stigma for Depression) research network. Local researchers in 35 countries recruited people attending specialist services for major depressive disorder. Participants (N=834) were interviewed using the discrimination and stigma scale (DISC-12). Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed with paid employment (no/yes) as the dependent variable, and ten independent variables including experienced discrimination.


A total of 39.7% indicated to have experienced discrimination in the field of work because of depression, and 48% indicated to anticipate discrimination in this setting. There were no significant differences between high, middle and low income countries regarding anticipated and experienced discrimination. Significantly associated to having paid employment were: experienced discrimination 0.61 (95% CI= 0.43-0.86), low education level 0.49 (95% CI 0.341-0.692) and having ever been admitted to psychiatric treatment 0.55 (0.379-0.785).


Anticipated and experienced discrimination of people with depression in the work setting is a common and global problem which hampers participation in paid employment. .

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