Depressive Symptoms, Satisfaction with Health Care, and Two-Year Outcomes in an Employed Population

American Journal of Psychiatry
Vol. 158, No. 5
May 2001
Druss, B.G., Schlesinger, M., and H.M. Allen
pp. 731-4

OBJECTIVE: The relationship of depressive symptoms, satisfaction with health care, and 2-year work outcomes was examined in a national cohort of employees.

METHOD: A total of 6,239 employees of three corporations completed surveys on health and satisfaction with health care in 1993 and 1995. This study used bivariate and multivariate analyses to examine the relationships of depressive symptoms (a score below 43 on the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form Health Survey mental component summary), satisfaction with a variety of dimensions of health care in 1993, and work outcomes (sick days and decreased effectiveness in the workplace) in 1995.

RESULTS: The odds of missed work due to health problems in 1995 were twice as high for employees with depressive symptoms in both 1993 and 1995 as for those without depressive symptoms in either year. The odds of decreased effectiveness at work in 1995 was seven times as high. Among individuals with depressive symptoms in 1993, a report of one or more problems with clinical care in 1993 predicted a 34% increase in the odds of persistent depressive symptoms and a 66% increased odds of decreased effectiveness at work in 1995. There was a weaker association between problems with plan administration and outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Depressive disorders in the workplace persist over time and have a major effect on work performance, most notably on "presenteeism," or reduced effectiveness in the workplace. The study’s findings suggest a potentially important link between consumers’ perceptions of clinical care and work outcomes in this population.

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