Effectiveness of interventions to address depression in the workplace: a systematic review

We’re looking for managers and supervisors who have supported workers with chronic diseases to take part in this study

If you're a manager or supervisor with experience accommodating employees with chronic physical or mental health conditions, we’d like to talk to you about the challenges you have experienced in supporting these employees while also balancing privacy needs. Your participation would consist of a confidential phone interview of about 30 to 40 minutes.

If interested, please email jbowring@iwh.on.ca or call 1-855-884-1416.

Reasons for the study

Depression in the workplace is widespread, and workplaces feel its financial pinch in the form of absenteeism and presenteeism. Yet workplace programs that specifically target depression remain uncommon. This may be because little information is available on the effectiveness of these programs when it comes to improving outcomes of importance to employers.

This systematic review set out to provide such information. Keeping the relevance and quality of studies in mind, it searched the research literature to look for successful interventions for managing depression in the workplace that were effective from an employer's point of view.

Progress

In the end, the review, published in 2011, could recommend no workplace interventions because studies to date in this field were, at the time, of poor quality. However, the systematic review did show that randomized controlled trials are possible when studying workplace depression. This is important given that randomized controlled trials are the gold standard for reaching conclusions on the effectiveness of interventions.

Related research summaries

Effectiveness of interventions to address depression in the workplace. Sharing Best Evidence: Institute for Work & Health, October 2011.

Related scientific publications

Furlan AD, Gnam WH, Carnide N, Irvin E, Amick B, DeRango K, McMaster R, Cullen KL, Slack T, Brouwer S, Bultmann U. Systematic review of intervention practices for depression in the workplace. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 2012;22(3):312-321. doi:10.1007/s10926-011-9340-2.
Furlan AD, Gnam W, Carnide N, Irvin E, Amick B, DeRango K, McMaster R, Cullen KL, Slak T, Brouwer S, Bultmann U. Systematic review of intervention practices for depression in the workplace. Institute for Work & Health; 2011.

Project status

Completed

Research team

Andrea Furlan, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
William Gnam, Institute for Work & Health
Nancy Carnide, Institute for Work & Health
Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health
Ben Amick, Institute for Work & Health
Kelly DeRango, UpJohn Research Institute
Robert McMaster, University of Toronto
Kim Cullen, Institute for Work & Health
Tesha Slack, Institute for Work & Health
Sandra Brouwer, University of Groningen
Ute Bultmann, University of Groningen

Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research