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Examining changes in presenteeism and clinical symptoms in a workforce mental health benefits program

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Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health cover image


This study analyzed retrospective data from clients who utilized a workforce mental health benefit (WMHB) to understand how changes in anxiety and depression symptoms may predict changes in presenteeism (n = 704). Results indicated that presenteeism improved during WMHB care episodes and the effect varied based on the diagnostic symptom category and degree of symptom improvement. Analyses of mutually exclusive client groups showed that the reduction between the baseline and the follow-up presenteeism score (WLQ-8) ranged from 27% for clients with clinical symptom severity at baseline on measures of both anxiety and depressive symptoms (n = 225) to 15% for clients who showed subclinical symptoms at baseline on measures of both anxiety and depression (n = 300). For clients with clinical levels of anxiety (n = 129) or depressive symptoms (n = 50) at baseline, significant reduction of presenteeism occurred when both reliable improvement and recovery was achieved on a respective measure of clinical symptoms. Findings suggest WMHBs can mitigate presenteeism by alleviating mental health symptoms but clients with certain symptom profiles may require greater symptom improvement to yield significant reduction of presenteeism.

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