UIC Logo Depression may hamper an individual’s productivity considerably, particularly those belonging to the lower social classes and with mediocre education. A groundbreaking study initiated by the University of Illinois at Chicago asserts that present day treatments for depression do not benefit working-class and poor patients as compared to middle-class patients in enhancing performance at work. It has been suggested that alterations in depression treatment can be put forth for helping working class and poor patients.

During the study, data from the National Institute of Mental Health Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program dated 1982 to 1986 was reviewed. The data comprised 239 patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder. After the treatment for depression, working class and poor patients’ ability to function at work appeared less improved than middle-class patients. Similar results were registered among patients subjected to medication for depression or receiving one of two different kinds of psychotherapy, which were interpersonal psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Lydia Falconnier, assistant professor in UIC’s Jane Addams College of Social Work and colleagues aim to adapt current therapies with a greater focus on the daily work and economic stressors that low-income individuals face. Additional investigations will be undertaken for introducing novel changes in current depression treatment, so that working class and poor patients can equally benefit from it as much as middle-class patients.

The study was published in the journal Psychiatric Services.