Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 235–246 | Cite as

Labor force activity among Australians with musculoskeletal disorders comorbid with depression and anxiety disorders

Original Paper


Aim: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are a leading cause of work-related disability. This investigation explored the impact of MSD comorbid with depression and anxiety disorders, on labor force activity. Methods: The Australian Bureau of Statistics provided confidentialized data files collected from a household sample of 37,580 people. MSD, affective, and anxiety disorders were identified and employment restrictions were assessed at four levels of severity. Results: Anxiety and depression of six months duration was present in 12.1% of people with MSD. Comorbidity magnified the negative impacts of single conditions on labor force activity. Most at risk were people with back problems and comorbid depression, people with arthritis or other MSD and comorbid anxiety, males with MSD and comorbid depression, and females with MSD and comorbid anxiety. Conclusions: The results suggest that the occupational rehabilitation needs of people with MSD comorbid with depression or anxiety may currently be underestimated.


Anxiety Depression Musculoskeletal disorders Employment Occupational rehabilitation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research and the School of Population HealthThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.The Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research and the Department of PsychiatryThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.The Queensland Centre for Mental Health ResearchThe Park, Centre for Mental Health Treatment, Research and Education,RichlandsAustralia

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