Depressed employees incur higher costs: study

February 18, 2010

Employees who suffer from depression have higher costs related to short-term disability and absenteeism, even when they seek therapy for the condition, according to a new study from Washington-based Thomson Reuters Healthcare.

According to a study abstract, researchers examined insurance claims and employee health and productivity databases to determine the effect of antidepressant treatment on employer costs, and found workers with depression miss more days of work and are about twice as likely to use short-term disability. Workers with severe depression were about 3 times as likely to use short-term disability. Even while receiving treatment, costs associated with depressed workers remained significantly higher than costs for workers with other ailments, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, the abstract said.

The study was published in the February issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.