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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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.


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.


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%).


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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