Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2018:15: Inequalities in Labour Market Consequences of Common Mental Disorders

Johan Jarl (), Anna Linder (), Hillevi Busch (), Anja Nyberg () and Ulf-G. Gerdtham ()
Additional contact information
Johan Jarl: Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University
Anna Linder: Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University
Hillevi Busch: The Public Health Agency of Sweden, Postal: SE-17182 Solna,, Sweden
Anja Nyberg: Department of Healthcare Management, Region Skåne, Postal: SE-29189 Kristianstad,, Sweden
Ulf-G. Gerdtham: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: The burden of mental disorders continues to grow and is now a leading cause of disability worldwide. The prevalence of mental disorders is unequal between population subgroups, and these disorders are associated with unfavourable consequences in social and economic conditions, health and survival. However, how the negative effects of mental disorders are distributed among population subgroups is less studied. Our aim is to investigate how labour market consequences of Common Mental Disorders (CMD) differ over gender, age, education, and country of birth. We use a population sample from southern Sweden of patients diagnosed with CMD 2009-2012 and a matched general population control group with linked register information on employment, long-term sick leave, and disability pension. Logistic regression with interaction effects between CMD and sociodemographic indicators are used to estimate labour market consequences of CMD in the different population subgroups. CMD have a negative impact on all labour market outcomes studied, reducing employment while increasing the risk of long term sick leave and disability pension. However, the associated effect is found to be stronger for men than women, except for disability pension where consequences are similar. Surprisingly, high educated individuals suffer worse labour market consequences than low educated. Consequences of CMD in labour market outcomes are not consistent across different age-groups and country of birth. Inequalities in the labour market consequences of common mental disorders sometimes contributes to, and sometimes mitigates, societal inequalities in employment, long term sick leave and disability pension. When developing new strategies to tackle mental ill health in the population, it may therefore be motivated to consider not only inequalities in the prevalence of mental disorders, but also inequalities in the consequences of these disorders.

Keywords: Mental health; Inequality; Employment; Labour market

JEL-codes: I10; I14; J01

36 pages, June 1, 2018

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