Receiving Treatment, Labor Force Activity, and Work Performance Among People with Psychiatric Disorders: Results from a Population Survey

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Standard treatments for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety disorders are generally expected to benefit individuals, employers, and the wider community through improvements in work-functioning and productivity.


We repeated a previous secondary investigation of receiving treatment, labor force activity and self-reported work performance among people with ICD-10 psychiatric disorders, in comparison to people with other types of health conditions. Data were collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2003 repeating a survey administered in 1998 using representative multistage sampling strategies. The 2003 household probability sample consisted of 36,241 working age individuals.


Consistent with the previous secondary investigation based on the 1998 survey administration, receiving treatment was consistently associated with non-participation in the labor force, and was negatively associated with work performance.


At a population level, receiving treatment was negatively associated with labor force activity and work performance. The stability of these results in two independent surveys highlights the need to investigate the longitudinal relationships between evidence-based treatments for psychiatric conditions as applied in real-world settings, and labor force participation and work performance outcomes.

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