Using Longitudinal Survey Data to Estimate Mental Health Related Transitions to a Disability Pension: Analysis of an Australian Household Panel Study

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Abstract

Objective:

This study examined the association between mental ill-health and subsequent receipt of a disability pension in Australia, and assessed how the strength of the association varied in relation to the duration between mental health measurement and reported disability pension receipt.

Methods:

Eight thousand four hundred seventy-four working-age adults not receiving a disability pension at baseline were followed for up to 11 years; 349 transitioned onto a disability pension. Discrete-time survival analysis considered baseline and time-varying (12-month lagged) measures of mental ill-health.

Results:

Proximal measures of mental ill-health were more strongly associated with subsequent pension receipt than baseline measures (odds ratio: 6.6 vs 3.9) and accounted for a significantly greater proportion of pension transitions (35% vs 21%).

Conclusion:

Mental ill-health is an independent risk factor for disability pension receipt, and proximal circumstances better capture this association than mental health measured earlier.

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