Labor market, financial, insurance and disability outcomes among near elderly Americans with depression and pain.

TitleLabor market, financial, insurance and disability outcomes among near elderly Americans with depression and pain.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsTian, H, Robinson, RL, Sturm, R
JournalJ Ment Health Policy Econ
Date Published2005 Dec
ISSN Number1091-4358
KeywordsAged, Cost of Illness, Cross-Sectional Studies, depression, Employment, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, pain, United States

BACKGROUND: The economic burden of depression has been documented, but the role of comorbid conditions is unclear. Depression and comorbid pain are particularly common, are associated with worse clinical outcomes and require different care than "pure'' depression. Does this comorbidity account for a large share of the adverse social outcomes attributed to depression?

AIMS OF STUDY: We analyzed the relationship between depression and comorbid pain, and labor market, financial, insurance and disability outcomes among Americans aged 55-65.

METHODS: Cross-sectional data were used from Wave 3 of the Health and Retirement Survey, a nationally representative sample of individuals aged 55-65 surveyed in 1996. Multivariate regression analyses, controlling for socio-demographics and chronic health conditions, estimated the associations between depression and pain, and economic outcomes. Outcomes included: employment and retirement status, household income, total medical expenditures, government health insurance, social security, limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs), and health limitations affecting work. Primary explanatory variables included the presence of severe pain, mild/moderate pain, or absence of pain, with or without depression.

RESULTS: Compared to depression alone, depression and comorbid pain was associated with worse labor market (non-employment, retirement), financial (total medical expenditures), insurance (government insurance, social security) and disability outcomes (limitations in ADLs, health limitations affecting work), after covariate adjustment (p

IMPLICATIONS FOR HEALTH CARE PROVISION AND USE: The depressed with comorbid pain appear to experience greater burden through increased costs and worse functioning and may require different management than those with depression alone. The depressed with comorbid pain may benefit from treatment practices and guidelines that address the duality of these conditions throughout the process of care. IMPLICATION FOR HEALTH POLICIES: The depressed with comorbid pain were more likely to receive government support than depression alone. Given the central role of employer-sponsored health insurance in the U.S., they may have worse access to health care because they leave employment or retire earlier. With the evolving state of Medicare, broad formulary access to mental health treatments might be considered.

IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH: Further research should focus on causality of depression and comorbid pain on economic outcomes. Depression research should consider the heterogeneity of this disorder in outcomes assessment.

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords

Chronic Disease/Comorbidity/Depression

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Ment Health Policy Econ
Citation Key7035
PubMed ID16385147