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Work Productivity Loss With Depression, Diagnosed and Undiagnosed, Among Workers in an Internet-Based Survey Conducted in Japan

Asami, Yuko PhD; Goren, Amir PhD; Okumura, Yasuyuki PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 1 - p 105–110
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000310
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether depression severity was associated with work impairments, regardless of the diagnosis.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 17,820 Japanese workers using an Internet-based survey. Work impairments were assessed using the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire. Participants were grouped according to whether they had a past-year diagnosis of depression by physicians and current depression severity assessed with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9.

Results: Among the undiagnosed, high severity respondents had greater overall work impairment than low severity respondents (33.3% vs 14.8%). Significant interactions between diagnosis and severity indicated greater impairments among undiagnosed than among diagnosed respondents (except on absenteeism).

Conclusions: Depression severity was associated with work productivity loss, even among the undiagnosed, suggesting a need for early detection, referral, and treatment of depression in the workplace.

From the Global Established Pharma Medical Affairs (Ms Asami), Pfizer Japan Inc, Tokyo, Japan; Health Outcomes Practice (Dr Goren), Kantar Health, New York, NY; and Institute for Health Economics and Policy (Dr Okumura), Tokyo, Japan.

Address correspondence to: Yuko Asami, PhD, Global Established Pharma Medical Affairs, Pfizer Japan Inc, Shinjuku Bunka Quint Bldg, 3-22-7, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-8589, Japan (

This study was funded by Pfizer Japan Inc.

Ms Asami contributed to study design, analysis, and reporting and is an employee of Pfizer Japan Inc, which funded the study. Dr Goren is an employee of Kantar Health and contributed to study design, analysis, and reporting with funding from Pfizer Japan Inc. Dr Okumura is a researcher at the Institute for Health Economics and Policy and contributed to study design, analysis, and reporting.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine