'Work is a motivator in life' Strategies in managing work participation among highly educated employees with depression

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BACKGROUND: Work participation among employees with depression is hampered due to cognitive impairments. Although studies show higher levels of work disability among people with a lower education, highly educated employees may encounter specific challenges in fulfilling their work role due to the cognitive impairments of depression, as they often perform cognitively demanding jobs. There is little knowledge about their challenges and opportunities with regard to work participation.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate how highly educated employees with depression manage work participation by focusing on their views on opportunities and challenges in fulfilling their work role.
METHODS: Eight individual interviews with highly educated employees with depression were conducted. Transcripts were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: The analysis revealed four categories: struggling with acknowledging depression and disclosure; fear of being stigmatised at work; work is a motivator in life; and striving to fulfil the work role at the expense of private life activities.
CONCLUSIONS: Highly educated employees with depression need guidance regarding the disclosure of information about health issues and work ability. To successfully manage their work role, they need a clear plan with outlined tasks, demands and goals. Healthcare professionals and workplaces should support them in setting limits with regard to work tasks and working hours.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWork: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation
Pages (from-to)1063-1073
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

    Research areas

  • Mental Disorders, vocational rehabilitation, disclosure, qualitative interview, qualitative content analysis

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