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Association of Comorbid Mental Health Symptoms and Physical Health Conditions With Employee Productivity

Parker, Kristin M. MPH; Wilson, Mark G. HSD; Vandenberg, Robert J. PhD; DeJoy, David M. PhD; Orpinas, Pamela PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 10 - p 1137-1144
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181b8c155
Original Articles

Objective: This study tests the hypothesis that employees with comorbid physical health conditions and mental health symptoms are less productive than other employees.

Methods: Self-reported health status and productivity measures were collected from 1723 employees of a national retail organization. χ2, analysis of variance, and linear contrast analyses were conducted to evaluate whether health status groups differed on productivity measures. Multivariate linear regression and multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to analyze how predictive health status was of productivity.

Results: Those with comorbidities were significantly less productive on all productivity measures compared with all other health status groups and those with only physical health conditions or mental health symptoms. Health status also significantly predicted levels of employee productivity.

Conclusion: These findings provide evidence for the relationship between health statuses and productivity, which has potential programmatic implications.

From the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

CME Available for this Article at

Kristin M. Parker and coauthors have no financial interest related to this research.

Address correspondence to: Kristin M. Parker, MPH, Workplace Health Group, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Ramsey Center Room 221, Athens, GA 30602-6554; E-mail:

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine