For Depressed Workers, Job Stress Lowers Productivity

A new study indicates that psychological stress at the workplace affects employees’ ability to carry out their jobs effectively.

Debra Lerner, Ph.D., director, Program on Health, Work and Productivity, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center says, “This is a large economic and a human cost. We need to develop and test programs that directly try to address the employment of people with depression.”

The population researched included over 14,000 adult employees, while 286 depressed workers were evaluated against 193 who were not.
The findings of the research which are featured in the American Journal of Health Promotion’s January/February issue also states that most of the depressed employees did have issues at their workplace. “They’re often very fatigued and have motivational issues. They also may have difficulty handling the pacing of work, managing a routine, performing physical job tasks and managing their usual workload,” said Lerner.

The findings of the research point to a link between an employees’ capacity to be in command of his work and their productivity.
Ronald Kessler, a professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, speaking about the findings of the research says that, “[they] are consistent with a growing body of evidence that depression has important adverse effects on work performance, both absenteeism and on-the-job performance. This evidence has led to the development of several workplace depression screening and treatment programs. Evaluations are beginning to show that these programs can be cost-effective when implemented carefully in reducing the indirect workplace costs of depression.”

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