Effectiveness of interventions to address depression in the workplace: a systematic review

Reasons for the study

Depression in the workplace is widespread, and workplaces feel its financial pinch in the form of absenteeism and presenteeism. Yet workplace programs that specifically target depression remain uncommon. This may be because little information is available on the effectiveness of these programs when it comes to improving outcomes of importance to employers.

This systematic review set out to provide such information. Keeping the relevance and quality of studies in mind, it searched the research literature to look for successful interventions for managing depression in the workplace that were effective from an employer's point of view.


In the end, the review, published in 2011, could recommend no workplace interventions because studies to date in this field were, at the time, of poor quality. However, the systematic review did show that randomized controlled trials are possible when studying workplace depression. This is important given that randomized controlled trials are the gold standard for reaching conclusions on the effectiveness of interventions.

Related research summaries

Related scientific publications

Project status

Completed 2011

Research team

  • Andrea Furlan, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • William Gnam, Institute for Work & Health
  • Nancy Carnide, Institute for Work & Health
  • Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health
  • Ben Amick, Institute for Work & Health
  • Kelly DeRango, UpJohn Research Institute
  • Robert McMaster, University of Toronto
  • Kim Cullen, Institute for Work & Health
  • Tesha Slack, Institute for Work & Health
  • Sandra Brouwer, University of Groningen
  • Ute Bűltmann, University of Groningen

Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research