About 15% of Americans will experience a major depressive disorder during their lives (Stuart, 1994). Depression is defined by the daily persistence of depressed mood throughout the day, or the marked and regular loss of interest in regular daily activities (Stuart). Research indicates persons with chronic illnesses have higher rates of depression than the general public. Recent evidence indicates individuals who have undergone liver transplantation often have significant psychiatric morbidity, including depression (Merz, 1998). A consequence of depression is often the inability to work or attend school. The effect depression has on posttransplant return to work, however, is not fully understood.
The purpose of this study was to describe the relationship between depression and work outcomes among adult liver transplant recipients. Laffrey’s (1986) conception of health was the theoretical framework used to guide the study. The study was part of a larger cross-sectional survey that examined return to work following liver transplant (Newton, 1997). The findings indicated that depression following liver transplant seriously impacts recipient return to work. Nursing implications related to depression and work outcomes posttransplant are also addressed.