The Impact of Work Absences on Health Services Utilization and Costs Among Employed Individuals With Depression

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The aim of this study was to evaluate whether work absences are associated with increased health services utilization, total health care costs, and depression-related costs among employed individuals, aged 18 to 64 years with depression.


This was a retrospective observational study using pooled data from the 2011 to 2014 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Employed individuals with depression were identified using ICD-9 codes and Clinical Classification code. Logistic regression, Poisson regression, and generalized linear models were used for analysis.


Individuals with depression who reported work absences had greater odds of having a hospitalization event [odds ratio (OR): 7.111; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 3.121 to 16.203], higher number of other health care visits (β = 0.188, P = 0.041), and had higher total health care costs (β = 0.550, P ≤ 0.001) than individuals with no work absences.


Among employed individuals with depression, self-reported work absence is associated with significantly higher health care utilization and total health care costs.

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