Discrimination in the workplace, reported by people with major depressive disorder: A cross-sectional study in 35 countries

E. P M Brouwers*, J. Mathijssen, T. Van Bortel, L. Knifton, K. Wahlbeck, C. Van Audenhove, N. Kadri, Ch Chang, B. R. Goud, D. Ballester, L. F. Tófoli, R. Bello, M. F. Jorge-Monteiro, H. Zäske, I. Milacic, A. Uçok, C. Bonetto, A. Lasalvia, G. Thornicroft, J. Van WeeghelGraham Thornicroft, Tine Van Bortel, Samantha Treacy, Elaine Brohan, Shuntaro Ando, Diana Rose, Kristian Wahlbeck, Esa Aromaa, Johanna Nordmyr, Fredrica Nyqvist, Carolina Herberts, Oliver Lewis, Jasna Russo, Dorottya Karsay, Rea Maglajlic, Antonio Lasalvia, Silvia Zoppei, Doriana Cristofalo, Chiara Bonetto, Isabella Goldie, Lee Knifton, Neil Quinn, Norman Sartorius, Chantal Van Audenhove, Gert Scheerder, Else Tambuyzer, Valentina Hristakeva, Dimitar Germanov, Jean Luc Roelandt, Simon Vasseur Bacle, Nicolas Daumerie, Aude Caria, Harald Zaske, Wolfgang Gaebel, Marina Economou, Eleni Louki, Lily Peppou, Klio Geroulanou, Judit Harangozo, Julia Sebes, Gabor Csukly, Giuseppe Rossi, Mariangela Lanfredi, Laura Pedrini, Arunas Germanavicius, Natalja Markovskaja, Vytis Valantinas, Jaap Van Weeghel, Jenny Boumans, Eleonoor Willemsen, Annette Plooy, Teresa Duarte, Fatima Jorge Monteiro, Radu Teodorescu, Iuliana Radu, Elena Pana, Janka Hurova, Dita Leczova, Vesna Svab, Nina Konecnik, Blanca Reneses, Juan J. Lopez-Ibor, Nerea Palomares, Camila Bayon, Alp Uçok, Gulsah Karaday, Nicholas Glozier, Nicole Cockayne, Luís Fernando Tófoli, Maria Suely Alves Costa, Roumen Milev, Teresa Garrah, Liane Tackaberry, Heather Stuart, Branka Aukst Margetic, Petra Folnegovic Groiæ, Barbora Wenigova, Elepova Pavla, Doaa Nader Radwan, Pradeep Johnson, Ramakrishna Goud, N. Nandesh, Geetha Jayaram, Yuriko Suzuki, Tsuyoshi Akiyama, Asami Matsunaga, Peter Bernick, Bawo James, Bolanle Ola, Olugbenga Owoeye, Yewande Oshodi, Jibril Abdulmalik, Kok Yoon Chee, Norhayati Ali, Nadia Kadri, Dounia Belghazi, Yassine Anwar, Nashi Khan, Rukhsana Kausar, Ivona Milacic Vidojevic, Athula Sumathipala, Chih Cheng Chang, Fethi Nacef, Uta Ouali, Hayet Ouertani, Rabaa Jomli, Abdelhafidh Ouertani, Khadija Kaaniche, Ricardo Bello, Manuel Ortega, Arturo Melone, María Andréina, Francisco Marco, Arturo Ríos, Ernesto Rodríguez, Arianna Laguado

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objective: Whereas employment has been shown to be beneficial for people with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) across different cultures, employers' attitudes have been shown to be negative towards workers with MDD. This may form an important barrier to work participation. Today, little is known about how stigma and discrimination affect work participation of workers with MDD, especially from their own perspective. We aimed to assess, in a working age population including respondents with MDD from 35 countries: (1) if people with MDD anticipate and experience discrimination when trying to find or keep paid employment; (2) if participants in high, middle and lower developed countries differ in these respects; and (3) if discrimination experiences are related to actual employment status (ie, having a paid job or not). Method: Participants in this cross-sectional study (N=834) had a diagnosis of MDD in the previous 12 months. They were interviewed using the Discrimination and Stigma Scale (DISC-12). Analysis of variance and generalised linear mixed models were used to analyse the data. Results: Overall, 62.5% had anticipated and/or experienced discrimination in the work setting. In very high developed countries, almost 60% of respondents had stopped themselves from applying for work, education or training because of anticipated discrimination. Having experienced workplace discrimination was independently related to unemployment. Conclusions: Across different countries and cultures, people with MDD very frequently reported discrimination in the work setting. Effective interventions are needed to enhance work participation in people with MDD, focusing simultaneously on decreasing stigma in the work environment and on decreasing self-discrimination by empowering workers with MDD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere009961
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2016


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