Changes in depression domains as predictors of return to work in common mental disorders
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Affective Disorders. 2022, 308 520-527. 10.1016/j.jad.2022.04.080
Background Depression highly impairs function and reduces quality of life. Therefore, both symptomatic and functional recovery are important treatment goals. Depression consists of several cognitive, somatic, and affective symptom factors that differently affect function. However, it is unclear whether changes in these domains predict return to work (RTW) after treatment. Methods Data were collected during treatment from patients on full or partial sick leave reporting depression symptoms (N = 300) at an out-patient clinic. Information on work status was assessed pre- and post-treatment and at 6 months follow-up. Multiple logistic regression was used to investigate if residualized changes in symptom factors predicted full RTW, controlling for gender, education level, and age. Results Changes (as symptom improvement) in the cognitive, somatic, and affective factor scores each significantly predicted full RTW post-treatment and at follow-up for patients on full and partial sick leave, even after controlling for gender, education level, and age. The change in the somatic factor explained the largest proportion of variance for full work post-treatment in patients on full sick-leave, while change in the cognitive factor explained most unique variance for patients on graded sick leave. Limitations The sample consisted of a majority of women with a relatively high level of education. This study should be replicated in more heterogeneous samples. Conclusion Changes in depression symptom domains are significant predictors for RTW work post-treatment. The change in the somatic factor explained the largest proportion of variance in patients on full sick leave and thus may particularly influence RTW after treatment.