Depression as a predictor of work resumption following myocardial infarction (MI): A review of recent research evidence

Adrienne O'Neil, Kristy Sanderson, Brian Oldenburg

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58 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Depression often coexists with myocardial infarction (MI) and has been found to impede recovery through reduced functioning in key areas of life such as work. In an era of improved survival rates and extended working lives, we review whether depression remains a predictor of poorer work outcomes following MI by systematically reviewing literature from the past 15 years.

Methods: Articles were identified using medical, health, occupational and social science databases, including PubMed, OVID, Medline, Proquest, CINAHL plus, CCOHS, SCOPUS, Web of Knowledge, and the following pre-determined criteria were applied: (i) collection of depression measures (as distinct from 'psychological distress') and work status at baseline, (ii) examination and statistical analysis of predictors of work outcomes, (iii) inclusion of cohorts with patients exhibiting symptoms consistent with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), (iv) follow-up of work-specific and depression specific outcomes at minimum 6 months, (v) published in English over the past 15 years. Results from included articles were then evaluated for quality and analysed by comparing effect size.

Results: Of the 12 articles meeting criteria, depression significantly predicted reduced likelihood of return to work (RTW) in the majority of studies (n = 7). Further, there was a trend suggesting that increased depression severity was associated with poorer RTW outcomes 6 to 12 months after a cardiac event. Other common significant predictors of RTW were age and patient perceptions of their illness and work performance.

Conclusion: Depression is a predictor of work resumption post-MI. As work is a major component of Quality of Life (QOL), this finding has clinical, social, public health and economic implications in the modern era. Targeted depression interventions could facilitate RTW post-MI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number95
JournalHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2010

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