High occupational level is associated with poor response to treatment of depression

Laura Mandelli, Alessandro Serretti*, Daniel Souery, Julien Mendlewicz, Siegfried Kasper, Stuart Montgomery, Joseph Zohar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Depression may be complicated by work-related stress and, in turn, depression is a leading cause of disability in workplaces. Though available effective treatments, only one third of patients reach full remission after a first treatment trial and nearly half of the patients are non-responders. Occupational level has been found to be a reliable predictor of health outcome in the general population. In the present study we tested the potential association of occupational level of those in work with response to treatment of depression in a large multinational sample. Major depressive disorder patients (n=654) stratified in three occupational levels (high, middle, low) were considered for the present study. Response to last treatment for current episode and treatment resistant depression, defined as non-response to 2 or more previous adequate treatment trials, were considered the outcome variables. Depressed patients from the high occupational level had a higher level of educational achievement. They showed a significantly poorer response to the last treatment with lower remission rates and more treatment resistance than the other occupational level groups. They were treated less with Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRIs). Potential confounding factors did not influence the main effect. The present findings indicate that those working at a high occupational level may be a risk factor for poor response to medication for depression and this has potential implications for clinicians and their patients, for future research, for employers and for public policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1320-1326
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Depression
  • Treatment response
  • Workplace


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