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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 97-100

Sickness Absence Among Depressed Patients Attending The General Out Patients Department of The Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria

Department of Psychiatry, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
G S Goar
Department of Psychiatry Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Depression has been associated with low productivity and long absence from work. This has a serious consequence for the individuals, the employer and the society. The objectives of this study were to determine sickness absence from work among depressed patients attending General Out Patients Department (GOPD) in the preceding 12 months, to assess socio-demographic correlates of sickness absence in these patients and lastly, to determine the effect of depression on perception of work performance. METHOD: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study among 200 consecutive patients attending the General Out Patients Department of the Jos University Teaching Hospital from November 2006 to March 2007. A semi-structured questionnaire designed by the authors was used to collect socio- demographic variables, self-reported perception of work and sickness absence days in the 12 months prior to the study. Depression was assessed using Structured Clinical Interview for DSM- IV (SCID) axis 1 disorder. RESULTS: A total of 51(25.4%) of the 200 patients met the DSM IV diagnostic criteria for major depression. The depressed respondents significantly had higher mean and cumulative days of sickness absence compared to the non-depressed (p < 0.0001). Among the depressed patients male gender (p < 0.0001) and younger age (16-45 years) (p = 0.017) but not marital status (p = 0.867) were associated with sickness absence. Older age (P = 0.001) was associated with sickness absence in the non-depressed while gender (p=0.117), and marital status (p = 0.752) were not. Having a diagnosis of depression was associated with poor work performance compared with the non- depressed (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Increased efforts are needed to screen and treat for depression to improve productivity and to prevent long spells of sickness absence.

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