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Health Aff (Millwood). 1999 Sep-Oct;18(5):163-71.

Depression in the workplace: effects on short-term disability.

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  • 1Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, USA.


We analyzed data from two national surveys to estimate the short-term work disability associated with thirty-day major depression. Depressed workers were found to have between 1.5 and 3.2 more short-term work-disability days in a thirty-day period than other workers had, with a salary-equivalent productivity loss averaging between $182 and $395. These workplace costs are nearly as large as the direct costs of successful depression treatment, which suggests that encouraging depressed workers to obtain treatment might be cost-effective for some employers.

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