Impact of depression on work productivity and its improvement after outpatient treatment with antidepressants

Jong Min Woo, Won Kim, Tae Yeon Hwang, Kevin D. Frick, Byong Hwi Choi, Yong Jin Seo, Eun Ho Kang, Se Joo Kim, Byong Joo Ham, Jun Seok Lee, Yu Lee Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objective: Depressive disorders influence socioeconomic burden at both the individual and organizational levels. This study estimates the lost productive time (LPT) and its resulting cost among workers with major depressive disorder (MDD) compared with a comparison group. It also estimates the change in productivity after 8 weeks of outpatient psychiatric treatment with antidepressants. Methods: Working patients diagnosed with MDD without other major physical or mental disorders were recruited (n = 102), along with age- andsex-matched healthy controls from the Seoul Metropolitan area (n = 91). The World Health Organization's Health and Work Performance Questionnaire and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression were utilized to measure productivity and severity of depression, respectively, at baseline and at 8 weeks of treatment. Results: The LPT from absenteeism and presenteeism (reduced performance while present at work) was significantly higher among the MDDgroup. Workers with MDD averaged costs due to LPT at 33.4% of their average annual salary, whereas the comparison group averaged costs of 2.5% of annual salary. After 8 weeks of treatment, absenteeism and clinical symptoms of depression were significantly reduced and associated with significant improvement in self-rated job performance (31.8%) or cost savings of $7508 per employee per year. Conclusions: We confirmed that significant productivity loss arises from MDD and that this loss can be reduced with psychiatric intervention after a time period as short as 8 weeks. Mental health professionals should work with employers to devise a cost-effective system to provide workers with accessible quality care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-482
Number of pages8
JournalValue in Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Cost
  • Depression
  • Lost productive time
  • Presenteeism
  • Productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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