Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 623–640 | Cite as

Receiving Treatment and Labor Force Activity in a Community Survey of People with Anxiety and Affective Disorders



Introduction Standard treatments for depression and anxiety disorders are generally expected to benefit individuals, employers, and the wider community through improvements in work-functioning and productivity. Although some evidence supports expectations of treatment benefits, these are rarely examined at a population level. Methods We investigated receiving treatment, labor force activity, and self-reported work performance among people with ICD-10 affective and anxiety disorders. Data were collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics using representative multistage sampling strategies. This large household probability sample consisted of 37,580 working age individuals. A secondary analysis was conducted using multiple binary logistic regression. Results After statistically controlling for eight covariates: extent of employment restrictions; mental health status; age; sex; partner status; country of birth; age left school; and educational attainment; receiving treatment was consistently associated with non-participation in the labor force, and was negatively associated with work performance. Conclusions At a population level, receiving treatment for anxiety and depression was negatively associated with being employed or looking for work. This could be an unintended side effect of treatment, although other explanations are also possible. These results justify more specific longitudinal investigations into how different forms of mental health treatment influence labor force activity among working age community residents with anxiety and affective disorders.


Anxiety Depression Disability Employment Treatment Work performance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research and the School of Population HealthThe Park, Centre for Mental HealthBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.The Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research and the Department of PsychiatryThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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