Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Impact of a Work-Focused Intervention on the Productivity and Symptoms of Employees With Depression

Lerner, Debra MS, PhD; Adler, David MD; Hermann, Richard C. MD, MS; Chang, Hong PhD; Ludman, Evette J. PhD; Greenhill, Annabel MA; Perch, Katherine BA; McPeck, William C. MSW; Rogers, William H. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 2 - p 128–135
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31824409d8
CME Available for this Article at

Objective: To test a new program's effectiveness in reducing depression's work burden.

Methods: A brief telephonic program to improve work functioning was tested in an early-stage randomized controlled trial involving 79 Maine State Government employees who were screened in for depression and at-work limitations (treatment group = 59; usual care group = 27). Group differences in baseline to follow-up change scores on the Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ), WLQ Absence Module, and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 depression severity scale were tested with analysis of covariance.

Results: Although there were no baseline group differences (P ≥ 0.05), by follow-up, the treatment group had significantly better scores on every outcome and differences in the longitudinal changes were all statistically significant (P = 0.0.27 to 0.0001).

Conclusions: The new program was superior to usual care. The estimated productivity cost savings is $6041.70 per participant annually.

From the Program on Health, Work and Productivity (Drs Lerner, Adler, Hermann, Chang, and Rogers), Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies (Drs Lerner, Adler, Hermann, Chang, and Rogers, Ms Greenhill, and Ms Perch), and Department of Psychiatry (Drs Lerner and Adler) Tufts Medical Center, and Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (Drs Lerner, Adler, Hermann, Chang, and Rogers), Boston, Mass; Group Health Research Institute (Dr Ludman), Seattle, Wash; and Employee Health and Benefits (Mr McPeck), Maine State Government, Augusta, Me.

Address correspondence to: Debra Lerner, PhD, MS, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington Street, Box 345, Boston, MA 02111 (

Authors Lerner, Adler, Hermann, Chang, Ludman, Greenhill, Perch, McPeck, and Rogers were supported in their work by the National Institute of Mental Health 1 R34 MH072735-01A1. The authors have no financial interest in this research.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine