Trajectories of sickness absence, disability pension and unemployment in young immigrants with common mental disor

European Journal of Public Health | Volume 29 | Issue 6 | December 2019
Authors: D Di Thiene, E Mittendorfer-Rutz, S Rahman, M Wang, K Alexanderson, J Tiihonen, G La Torre, M Helgesson


The aims were to elucidate if trajectories of labour market marginalization (LMM), measured as sickness absence (SA)/disability pension (DP) or unemployment, differed between young immigrants and natives before and after an incident diagnosis of a common mental disorder (CMD), and to investigate if educational level, psychiatric comorbidity and duration of residence in Sweden (in immigrants) had different associations with subsequent LMM in natives compared with immigrants.

A total of 28 971 young adults (19–30 years), with an incident CMD (inpatient or specialized outpatient healthcare due to CMDs or dispensed prescribed antidepressants during 2007) were included. Group-based trajectory models were utilized to identify trajectories of annual months of LMM 3 years before and 6 years after the diagnosis. The associations of risk factors with different trajectories were investigated by multinomial logistic regression, χ2-test and Nagelkerke R2 to measure the associations’ strength. Immigrants were categorized into Western and non-Western immigrants.

Young natives and immigrants showed similar trajectories of SA/DP. A higher proportion of non-Western immigrants (20.5%) followed trajectories of high levels of unemployment (>2 annual months) compared with Western immigrants (15%) and natives (16.5%). Educational level and duration of residence in Sweden (in immigrants) discriminated trajectories of both SA/DP and unemployment, whereas psychiatric comorbidity only discriminated trajectories of SA/DP.

Differences in trajectories of unemployment between young natives and immigrants with an incident CMD were found. Educational level and psychiatric comorbidity provided information on differences between natives and immigrants and duration of residence gave information for subgroups of immigrants.