Psychiatric disorders and labour force activity

Jonsdottir, Annika and Waghorn, Geoffrey (2015) Psychiatric disorders and labour force activity. Mental Health Review Journal, 20 1: 13-27. doi:10.1108/MHRJ-05-2014-0018

Author Jonsdottir, Annika
Waghorn, Geoffrey
Title Psychiatric disorders and labour force activity
Journal name Mental Health Review Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1361-9322
Publication date 2015-01-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/MHRJ-05-2014-0018
Volume 20
Issue 1
Start page 13
End page 27
Total pages 15
Place of publication Bingley, United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Formatted abstract
– The purpose of this paper is to explore and review the range and quality of international epidemiological and observational studies reporting impacts of psychiatric disorders on labour force activity. This information is needed to explore the relative priority of different diagnostic groups for more intensive forms of vocational rehabilitation.


– The authors provide an overview of the current literature. A systematic review of papers measuring labour force variables and psychiatric disorders across a range of countries is conducted. These results are compared to OECD background unemployment rates during the same period. The results for each diagnostic category included are aggregated and compared to the other diagnostic categories.

– The proportions of people employed decreased with the more severe disorder categories, indicating that severe psychiatric illnesses are contributing to employment struggles for people with these illnesses, across countries.

Research limitations/implications
– This review is exploratory and shows that there is little consistency in reporting of labour force variables. Future research should endeavour to utilise internationally agreed definitions of labour force activity.

Practical implications
– This conclusion is relevant to matching community residents with psychiatric disorders to the more intensive and costly forms of vocational rehabilitation.


– To our knowledge, no previous review has examined diagnostic categories of psychiatric disorders by labour force activity internationally while taking into account background unemployment. This review found an employment gradient related to severity of diagnostic category that will be of interest to clinicians and policy makers.
Keyword Vocational rehabilitation
Systematic review
Epidemiological studies
Labour force activity
Psychiatric disorders
Diagnostic groups
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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