Major depression and chronic pain linked to absenteeism
The role of depression and chronic pain conditions in absenteeism: results from a national epidemiologic survey. Munce SEP, Stansfeld SA, Robertson Blackmore E, Stewart DE. J Occup Environ Med. 2007. 49: 1206–1211.
To examine the effect of chronic pain on illness-related and disability-related absenteeism from work.
9,238,154 individuals who completed a national survey on mental health and well-being, and who reported a chronic pain condition (diagnosed by a healthcare professional and present for ≥ six months).
Data from the survey were used to compare the occurrence of chronic pain and depression, with absenteeism.
- Major depression in the presence of chronic pain was the strongest predictor of absenteeism; individuals who reported a major depressive event in the past year were 2.9 times more likely to be absent than the individuals who had not suffered from depression.
- 19% of individuals who reported absenteeism also reported a major depressive episode in the previous 12 months, compared with 7.9% in those who did not report any absenteeism.
- Absenteeism was also strongly linked to high income, being younger, being married and a high level of education.
What does this mean?
Depression is a major source of disability for working individuals, especially in the presence of chronic pain.