The Role of Depression and Chronic Pain Conditions in Absenteeism: Results From a National Epidemiologic Survey.

Munce SE, Stansfeld SA, Blackmore ER, Stewart DE.

From the Women’s Health Program (Dr Stewart, Ms Munce), University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Center for Psychiatry (Dr Stansfeld), Barts and the London Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, United Kingdom; and Department of Psychiatry (Dr Blackmore), University of Rochester, New York, NY.

OBJECTIVE:: This study examined whether depression is associated with absenteeism in a sample of individuals with chronic pain.

METHODS:: Data were obtained from the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 1.2. Key variables were chronic pain, defined as fibromyalgia, arthritis/rheumatism, back problems, and migraine headaches, absenteeism, and depression. The sample comprised 9,238,154 individuals who reported at least one chronic pain condition and were absent from their job in the previous week because of illness or disability.

RESULTS:: Nineteen percent of absent individuals met criteria for major depression versus 7.9% of non-absent individuals. The presence of major depression represented a three-fold risk of absenteeism. Other risk factors for absenteeism included younger age, higher income, and more education.

CONCLUSIONS:: Comorbid depression and chronic pain represents a significant source of disability in the workforce.

PMID: 17993924 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

1: J Occup Environ Med. 2007 Nov;49(11):1206-1211.

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Folllowing Rick Usher's death in December 2008, at his request in September of that year, I had agreed, as his principal contributor and an experienced journalist, to run the FMS Global News service due to his heavy commitments to music and raising research funds through this avenue. Following his sad and sudden death I hope to continue his work as he would have wished.
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