Recent studies based on self-reported data suggest that retirement may have beneficial effects on mental health, but studies using objective endpoints remain scarce. This study examines longitudinally the changes in antidepressant medication use across the 9 years spanning the transition to retirement.
Participants were Finnish public-sector employees: 7138 retired at statutory retirement age (76% women; mean age, 61.2 years), 1238 retired early due to mental health issues (78% women; mean age, 52.0 years), and 2643 retired due to physical health issues (72% women; mean age, 55.4 years). Information on purchase of antidepressant medication 4 years before and 4 years after retirement year was based on comprehensive national pharmacy records in 1994-2005.
One year before retirement, the use of antidepressants was 4% among those who would retire at statutory age, 61% among those who would retire due to mental health issues, and 14% among those who would retire due to physical health issues. Retirement-related changes in antidepressant use depended on the reason for retirement. Among old-age retirees, antidepressant medication use decreased during the transition period (age- and calendar-year-adjusted prevalence ratio for antidepressant use 1 year after versus 1 year before retirement = 0.77 [95% confidence interval = 0.68 to 0.88]). Among those whose main reason for disability pension was mental health issues or physical health issues, there was an increasing trend in antidepressant use prior to retirement and, for mental health retirements, a decrease after retirement.
Trajectories of recorded purchases of antidepressant medication are consistent with the hypothesis that retirement is beneficial for mental health.
Mental ill-health, particularly depression and anxiety, is a leading and increasing cause of disability worldwide, especially for women.
We examined the prospective association between physical activity and symptoms of mental ill-health in younger, mid-life and older working women. Participants were 26 913 women from the ongoing cohort Finnish Public Sector Study with complete data at two phases, excluding those who screened positive for mental ill-health at baseline. Mental health was assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire. Self-reported physical activity was expressed in metabolic equivalent task (MET) hours per week. Logistic regression models were used to analyse associations between physical activity levels and subsequent mental health.
There was an inverse dose-response relationship between physical activity and future symptoms of mental ill-health. This association is consistent with a protective effect of physical activity and remained after adjustments for socio-demographic, work-related and lifestyle factors, health and body mass index. Furthermore, those mid-life and older women who reported increased physical activity by more than 2 MET hours per week demonstrated a reduced risk of later mental ill-health in comparison with those who did not increase physical activity. This protective effect of increased physical activity did not hold for younger women.
This study adds to the evidence for the protective effect of physical activity for later mental health in women. It also suggests that increasing physical activity levels may be beneficial in terms of mental health among mid-life and older women. The alleviation of menopausal symptoms may partly explain age effects but further research is required.
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The purpose of our two-year follow-up study was to examine the effect of the social components of the work group, such as group absence norms and cohesion, on sickness absence behavior among individuals with varying attitudes toward work attendance. The social components were measured using a questionnaire survey and data on sickness absence behavior were collected from the employers' records. The study population consisted of 19,306 Finnish municipal employees working in 1,847 groups (78% women). Multilevel Poisson regression modeling was applied. The direct effects of work group characteristics on sickness absence were mostly insignificant. In contrast, both of the social components of a work group had an indirect impact: The more tolerant the group absence norms (at both individual- and cross-level) and the lower the group cohesion (at the individual level), the more the absence behavior of an individual was influenced by his or her attitude toward work attendance. We conclude that work group moderates the extent to which individuals with a liberal attitude toward work attendance actually engage in sickness absence behavior.
The objective of the study was to determine whether the double burden of and negative spillover between domestic and full-time paid work are associated with an increase in health problems. Survey responses were linked with sickness absence records in a cross-sectional study of 6442 full-time municipal employees. Women and men experiencing severe work-family spillover had a 1.5-1.6 (95% confidence intervals 1.1 to 2.0) times higher rate of sickness absence than those with no such experience. The corresponding odds ratios for psychological distress and suboptimal self-assessed health varied between 3.6 and 6.5 (2.3 to 11.0). Among the women, severe family-work spillover increased the risk of psychological distress and suboptimal health [odds ratios 2.0 (1.4 to 2.9) and 1.6 (1.1 to 2.3), respectively], and accumulated sole responsibilities were associated with a 1.5 (1.1 to 2.1) times higher odds ratio for psychological distress. Long domestic work hours (>50/week) were associated with a 1.5 (1.1 to 2.0) times higher rate of sickness absence among the men, but there was no such increase among the women. We conclude that negative work-family spillover especially is associated with health problems among both women and men, and negative family-work spillover is related to a poorer health status among women.
To examine the combined effects of childhood adversities and low adult socioeconomic status (SES) on the risk of future work disability.
Included were 34 384 employed Finnish Public Sector study participants who responded to questions about childhood adversities (none vs any adversity, eg, parental divorce or financial difficulties) in 2008, and whose adult SES in 2008 was available. We categorised exposure into four groups: neither (reference), childhood adversity only, low SES only or both. Participants were followed from 2009 until the first period of register-based work disability (sickness absence >9 days or disability pension) due to any cause, musculoskeletal or mental disorders; retirement; death or end of follow-up (December 2011). We ran Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for behavioural, health-related and work-related covariates, and calculated synergy indices for the combined effects.
When compared with those with neither exposure, HR for work disability from any cause was increased among participants with childhood adversity, with low SES, and those with both exposures. The highest hazard was observed in those with both exposures: HR 2.53, 95% CI 2.29?to 2.79 for musculoskeletal disability, 1.55, 95% CI 1.36?to 1.78 for disability due to mental disorders and 1.29, 95% CI 1.20?to 1.39 for disability due to other reasons. The synergy indices did not indicate synergistic effects.
These findings indicate that childhood psychosocial adversity and low adult SES are additive risk factors for work disability.
Although methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has been a primary treatment response to illicit opioid use in Canada for decades, analytical treatment data are scarce. Using data from the multisite OPICAN cohort of illicit opioid and other drug users repeatedly assessed between 2002 (baseline) and 2005 (last follow-up [FU]), we (1) longitudinally examined characteristics associated with MMT uptake between baseline and FU and (2) cross-sectionally compared drug use patterns between cohort participants in MMT (n = 133) and those not in MMT (n = 400) at the last FU through bivariate and multivariate analyses (stepwise logistic regression). Significant baseline predictors of MMT uptake emerging in the logistic regression model included injection drug, heroin, as well as alcohol use, housing status, and Quebec City as a site. Furthermore, lower prevalence levels of opioid (e.g., morphine and OxyContin) and nonopioid (e.g., cocaine and crack) drug use as well as lower frequency of heroin use days were observed among MMT users. This study highlights potential factors relevant for improved MMT uptake and illustrates possible reductions of drug use related to MMT.
To investigate the associations of workplace neighbourhood socioeconomic status with health behaviours, health and working conditions among school teachers.
The survey responses and employer records of 1862 teachers were linked to census data on school neighbourhood socioeconomic status. In the multilevel analysis, adjustments were made for demographics, work factors and the socioeconomic status of the teacher's own residential area.
226 public schools in Finland.
Teachers working in schools from neighbourhoods with the lowest socioeconomic status reported heavy alcohol consumption (OR 2.25; 95% CI 1.32 to 3.83) and higher probability of doctor-diagnosed mental disorders (OR 1.47; 95% CI 1.02 to 2.12) more often than teachers working in schools located in the wealthiest neighbourhoods. After controlling for the socioeconomic status of the teacher's own residential area, only heavy alcohol consumption remained statistically significant. Teachers working in schools with lower socioeconomic status also reported lower frequency of workplace meetings, lower participation in occupational training, lower teaching efficacy and higher mental workload.
School neighbourhood socioeconomic status is associated with working conditions and health of school teachers. The association with health is partially explained by the socioeconomic status of the teachers' own residential neighbourhoods. An independent association was found between low socioeconomic status of school neighbourhoods and heavy alcohol use among teachers.
Cites: Int J Epidemiol. 1999 Oct;28(5):841-510597980
Objectives The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the length of sickness absence and sustained return to work (SRTW) and the predictors of SRTW in depression, anxiety disorders, intervertebral disc disorders, and back pain in a population-based cohort of employees in the Finnish public sector. Methods We linked data from employers' registers and four national population registers. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis with a cluster option was applied. SRTW was defined as the end of the sickness benefit period not followed by a recurrent sickness benefit period in 30 days. Results For depression, the median time to SRTW was 46 and 38 days among men and women, respectively. For anxiety disorders, the figures were 24 and 22 days, for intervertebral disc disorders, 42 and 41 days, and, for back pain, 21 and 22 days among men and women respectively. Higher age and the persistence of the health problem predicted longer time to SRTW throughout the diagnostic categories. Comorbid conditions predicted longer time to SRTW in depression and back pain among women. Conclusions This large cohort study adds scientific evidence on the length of sickness absence and SRTW in four important diagnostic categories among public sector employees in Finland. Further research taking into account, eg, features of the work environment is suggested. Recommendations on the length of sickness absence at this point should be based on expert opinion and supplemented with research findings.
The aim of this study was to conduct an exploratory analysis of factors associated with poor health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among opiate users at entry to low-threshold methadone treatment.
The SF-36 questionnaire was administered to 145 opiate users at enrollment into low-threshold methadone maintenance programs. ANOVA and correlational analyses were performed to investigate the determinants of poor physical and mental composite summary scales (PCS and MCS) of the SF-36 among opiate users. Stepwise regression methods were also employed to fit PCS and MCS multivariate models.
Age, employment status, chronic medical conditions, hospitalization, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and age at first injection episode were significantly associated with PCS. Mental health problems, sexual abuse, physical abuse, the use of sedatives, the use of cocaine, the number of days of cocaine use, sedative use and multiple substance use in the past month were significantly associated with MCS. The variances in the MCS and PCS were not readily explained by any one factor.
The multiplicity of factors influencing HRQOL of opiate users suggests the need for a range of services within the context of a methadone program, addressing primary medical care needs as well as treatment for both mental health problems and abuse issues.
Objectives The aim of this study was to examine the status of night work as a risk factor for common mental disorders (CMD). Methods A cohort study with three data waves was conducted on populations of social and healthcare employees for a duration of eight years (total N=46 010). Data were analyzed as a non-randomized pseudo trial to examine (i) whether moving from non-night work to night work is associated with the development of CMD, (ii) the extent to which moving back to non-night work biases this association and (iii) whether moving from night to non-night work is associated with the recovery from CMD. Results According to logistic regression with generalized estimating equation and without bias-correction, changing to night work was not associated with the odds of acquiring CMD [odds ratio (OR) 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.82-1.30]. However, night workers with CMD had higher odds of recovery from CMD when changing to non-night work compared to continuing night work (1.99, 95% CI 1.20-3.28). When night workers developed CMD, the odds of moving back to non-night work increased by 68%. In analyses corrected for this bias, changing from non-night to night work was associated with a 1.25-fold (95% CI 1.03-1.52) increased odds of acquiring CMD. Conclusions A change from non-night to night work may increase the risk of CMD, while moving back from night to non-night work increased recovery from CMD.
Organizational justice perceptions have been suggested to be associated with symptoms of mental health but the nature of the association is unknown due to reporting bias (measurement error related to response style and reversed causality). In this study, we used prospective design and long-term (>9 days) sickness absence with psychiatric diagnosis as the outcome measure. Participants were 21,221 Finnish public sector employees (the participation rate at baseline in 2000-2002 68%), who responded to repeated surveys of procedural and interactional justice in 2000-2004 along with register data on sickness absence with a diagnosis of depression or anxiety disorders (822 cases). Results from logistic regression analyses showed that a one-unit increase in self-reported and work-unit level co-worker assessed interactional justice was associated with a 25-32% lower odds of sickness absence due to anxiety disorders. These associations were robust to adjustments for a variety of potential individual-level confounders including chronic disease (adjusted OR for self-reported interactional justice 0.77, 95% CI 0.65-0.91) and were replicated using co-worker assessed justice. Only weak evidence of reversed causality was found. The results suggest that low organizational justice is a risk factor for sickness absence due to anxiety disorders.
The extent to which predictors of return to work (RTW) and recurrence of work disability episodes vary by age group is not well understood.
We examined the associations of sociodemographic and clinical factors with RTW and recurrence after mental-disorder-related work disability episodes in a cohort of 10,496 Finnish public sector employees. Disability records were derived from national disability registers between 2005 and 2011. Effect modification by age was examined in age groups of 21-34, 35-50 and >50 years.
A total of 16,551 disability episodes from mental disorders were recorded. The likelihood of RTW was elevated in age group 21-34 (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.28-1.46) and 35-50 years (HR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.18-1.26) compared to age group >50 years. The risk of a recurrent episode of work disability was higher in age groups >50 (HR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.09-1.52) and 35-50 years (HR = 1.20, 95% CI = 1.03-1.41) compared to the youngest age group. Employees with depressive disorders were less likely to RTW than employees with neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders, and this difference increased with age. Low education was associated with increased risk of recurrent work disability episode in age groups of 50 years or younger, while no such association was observed in age group >50 years.
The importance of depressive symptoms over neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders as predictors of delayed RTW increases with age, whereas educational differences in the recurrence of an episode diminish by age.
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Canada, used by 1 in 7 adults and 1 in 4 students. Other forms of drug use (e.g., alcohol or injection drug use) are increasingly approached within a public health policy framework that focuses on reducing harms rather than use per se. Cannabis, by contrast, remains formally controlled by a criminal justice approach that focuses on enforcing abstinence. Its use is associated with a variety of possible acute or chronic health problems that include cognitive and respiratory impairment, psychotic episodes, dependence and injury risk. The incidence of these outcomes, however, is predicted by early onset and a high frequency and length of use that only apply to a minority of users. In a public health framework, cannabis use - especially in young populations - should be systematically monitored and high-risk patterns of use screened for in appropriate settings, e.g., schools and GP offices. Evidence-based primary and secondary prevention, treatment and enforcement need to be targeted at these high-risk patterns of use. Given the large cannabis user population, especially among young people, and the failure of the criminalization approach to discourage use, a public health framework for cannabis use is urgently needed in Canada.
To examine the associations between socio-economic position (SEP) and the onset of psychiatric work disability, return to work and recurrence of disability.
Prospective observational cohort study (1997-2005) including register data on 141 917 public-sector employees in Finland. Information on International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision diagnosis-specific psychiatric work disability (=90 days) was obtained from national registers.
During a mean follow-up of 6.3 years, 3938 (2.8%) participants experienced long-term psychiatric work disability. Of these, 2418 (61%) returned to work, and a further 743 (31%) experienced a recurrent episode. SEP was inversely associated with onset of disability owing to depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia and substance-use disorders. No association was found between SEP and disability owing to bipolar disorders or reaction to severe stress and adjustment disorders. High SEP was associated with a greater likelihood of a return to work following depressive disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia and substance-use disorders, but not bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders or reaction to severe stress and adjustment disorders. Low SEP predicted recurrent episodes of work disability.
High SEP is associated with lower onset of work disability owing to mental disorders, as well as return to work and lower rates of recurrence. However, the socio-economic advantage is diagnosis-specific. SEP predicted neither the onset and recovery from disability owing to bipolar disorders and reaction to severe stress and adjustment disorders, nor recovery from disability owing to anxiety disorders. SEP should be taken into account in the attempts to reduce long-term work disability owing to mental disorders.
Comment In: Occup Environ Med. 2011 Nov;68(11):789-9021849348
Studies have reported higher levels of absenteeism due to illness among special education teachers compared to other teachers, but it is not known which factors might contribute to this difference. We examined whether health, health behaviors, and exposure to violence at work differed between special education and general education teachers in Finnish basic education.
Survey data from 5760 general and special education teachers were analyzed with multilevel logistic models adjusted for individual- and school-level confounding factors.
No difference was found between the health behaviors of general and special education teachers. The differences in physical and mental health between the two groups were also relatively small. With regard to work-related violence, however, male special education teachers were 3 times more likely to be exposed to mental abuse, and 5 times more likely to be exposed to physical violence when compared to their male colleagues in general education. Although female special educators were also at an increased risk of mental abuse and physical violence compared to their female general teacher colleagues, their odds ratios for such an encounter were smaller (2- and 3-fold, respectively) than those of male special education teachers. The school-level variance of physical violence toward teachers was large, which indicates that while most schools have little physical violence toward teachers, schools do exist in which teachers' exposure to violence is common.
These findings suggest that special education teachers may benefit from training for handling violent situations and interventions to prevent violence at schools.
To examine the use of social and health services by illicit opioid users outside of treatment in five Canadian cities ('OPICAN' cohort).
677 eligible participants completed an interviewer-administered protocol and 584 supplied saliva samples for HIV and HCV antibody-testing. Chi-squared tests and multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) were carried out in order to determine the associations between use of services and specific factors. The explanatory variables of service utilization were determined with multiple regression analysis.
The average age of respondents was 35 years, 66% were male and 68% were Caucasian. Women and HIV-positive individuals were more likely to receive health care. Participants who had a history of injection drug use, but had not injected within the previous 30 days, visited doctors more regularly and had a higher uptake of community-based services. Those who reported mental health problems used services less frequently than others. Participants recruited in Vancouver had more visits to needle exchange programs and centres specifically for women. Toronto participants were more likely to use homeless shelters and had a higher uptake of other types of community-based services.
Our study found a high rate of physical and mental health problems in illicit untreated opioid users in Canada, including the transmission of infectious disease. The availability of services seems to be a predictor of use of services. Setting up, adapting and evaluating front-line services tailored to illicit opioid users outside of treatment should be a policy and program priority.
Some 300,000 individuals are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Canada. HCV infection is associated with major morbidity, mortality and health care costs; these indicators are projected to rise over the next decade. The vast majority of prevalent and incident HCV infections in Canada are illicit drug use-related; thus, the HCV disease burden can only be addressed through interventions targeting this primary risk factor. Both preventive (e.g., needle exchange, methadone treatment) and therapeutic (e.g., the accessibility of HCV treatment for illicit drug users) interventions aimed at HCV in illicit drug users have been broadly expanded in Canada in recent years. However, evidence suggests that existing preventive measures only offer limited effectiveness in reducing HCV risk exposure. Also, due to restricted resources, treatment for HCV currently only reaches an extremely small proportion (i.e.,
Prescription opioids (POs) are playing an increasingly central role in street drug use and related harms in North America. One distinct PO substance of interest is Fentanyl (Duragesic), a potent opioid analgesic designed for transdermal time-release application. Studies from Europe and North America have documented the sizeable overdose and mortality burden associated with the non-medical use of this drug. This study explores practices and risk dynamics associated with Fentanyl abuse, also considering public health implications. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 regular street-entrenched illicit PO users in Toronto, Canada, a sub-sample of which were recent Fentanyl users. Results showed that while relatively rare on the illicit PO market in Toronto, Fentanyl is a highly desired, sought after and relatively expensive PO drug among street users. In addition, the new 'matrix' patch technology implemented for Fentanyl since 2005 is a limited safeguard against abuse as simple extraction methods are utilized by street users. Finally, distinct risk behaviours relevant for public health emerge due to the high black market costs of Fentanyl and the extraction techniques applied, potentially facilitating high risks for infectious disease (e.g., HCV, HIV) transmission and/or overdose. Consequently, prevalence and practices of Fentanyl use by street users require closer monitoring, targeted interventions and further research regarding risks and outcomes.
Most of the estimated 125,000 injection drug users (IDUs) in Canada use illicit opioids and are outside treatment (i.e., methadone maintenance treatment). Empirical data suggest that illicit opioid users outside treatment are characterized by various health and social problem characteristics, including polydrug use, physical and mental morbidity, social marginalization, and crime. Although required for evidence-based programming, systematic information on this specific substance-user population is sparse in Canada to date. This article presents and compares key characteristics of population of illicit opioid users outside treatment in five cities across Canada (OPICAN cohort). Overall, the majority of OPICAN participants regularly used both a variety of illicit opioids and cocaine or crack, reported physical and mental health (e.g., mood disorder) problems, lacked permanent housing, were involved in crime, and had their "ideal" treatment not available to them. However, key local sample differences were shown, including patterns of heroin versus prescription opioid use and levels of additional cocaine versus crack use as well as indicators of social marginalization. Illicit opioid user population across Canada differ on key social, health, and drug use indicators that are crucial for interventions and are often demonstrated between larger and smaller city sites. Differentiated interventions are required.
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This ongoing prospective study examined characteristics of school neighborhood and neighborhood of residence as predictors of sick leave among school teachers. School neighborhood income data for 226 lower-level comprehensive schools in 10 towns in Finland were derived from Statistics Finland and were linked to register-based data on 3,063 teachers with no long-term sick leave at study entry. Outcome was medically certified (>9 days) sick leave spells during a mean follow-up of 4.3 years from data collection in 2000-2001. A multilevel, cross-classified Poisson regression model, adjusted for age, type of teaching job, length and type of job contract, school size, baseline health status, and income level of the teacher's residential area, showed a rate ratio of 1.30 (95% confidence interval: 1.03, 1.63) for sick leave among female teachers working in schools located in low-income neighborhoods compared with those working in high-income neighborhoods. A low income level of the teacher's residential area was also independently associated with sick leave among female teachers (rate ratio = 1.50, 95% confidence interval: 1.18, 1.91). Exposure to both low-income school neighborhoods and low-income residential neighborhoods was associated with the greatest risk of sick leave (rate ratio = 1.71, 95% confidence interval: 1.27, 2.30). This study indicates that working and living in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood is associated with increased risk of sick leave among female teachers.