HealthDay News — Variations in manager reactions and support for those with depression are as important as gross domestic product (GDP) for absenteeism and presenteeism due to depression, according to research published online July 23 in BMJ Open.

Sara Evans-Lacko, Ph.D., and Martin Knapp, Ph.D., from the London School of Economics and Political Science, conducted a secondary data analysis of cross-sectional survey data involving 16,018 employees and managers from 15 countries. The level of absenteeism, as measured by the number of days taken off work due to depression, and presenteeism score were assessed.

The researchers found that, on average, employees with depression took more days off work if they lived in a country with a greater prevalence of managers saying that they avoided talking with the employee about depression, (B, 4.13). There was a marginal correlation for living in a country with higher GDP and employees with depression taking more days off work (P = 0.09). On average, higher levels of presenteeism were seen with living in a country with a greater prevalence of managers actively offering help to employees with depression, (B, 7.08). Among employees with depression, higher country GDP was correlated with greater presenteeism (B, 3.09).

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“When controlling for country GDP, working in an environment where managers felt comfortable to offer help and support to the employee rather than avoid them was independently associated with less absenteeism and more presenteeism,” the authors write.

The authors disclosed financial ties to H. Lundbeck A/S, which funded the study.

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