Rates and predictors of recurrent work disability due to common mental health disorders in the United States

Fraser W. Gaspar, Catherine S. Zaidel, Carolyn S Dewa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Context Despite the high prevalence of work disability due to common mental disorders (CMD), no information exists on the rates and predictors of recurrence in a United States population. Objective To estimate recurrent work disability statistics and evaluate factors associated with recurrence due to CMDs including adjustment, anxiety, bipolar, and depressive disorders. Methods Recurrent work disability statistics were calculated using a nationwide database of disability claims. For the CMDs, univariate and multiple variable analyses were used to examine demographic factors and comorbidities associated with the time to recurrence. Results Of the CMDs, cases with bipolar (n = 3,017) and depressive disorders (n = 20,058) had the highest recurrence densities, 98.7 and 70.9 per 1000 person-years, respectively. These rates were more than three times higher than recurrence rates for other chronic disorders (e.g., diabetes, asthma; n = 105,558) and non-chronic disorders (e.g., injury, acute illnesses; n = 153,786). Individuals with CMD were also more likely to have a subsequent disability distinct from their mental health condition. Risk factors for recurrent CMD disability included being younger, being an hourly employee, living in a geographic area with more college graduates, having more previous psychiatric visits, having a previous work leave, and the type of work industry. Conclusions Results indicate that CMD patients may benefit from additional care and disability management both during and after their work absence to help prevent subsequent CMD and non- CMD related leaves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0205170
JournalPLoS One
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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