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Chartbook on Mental Health and Disability

Section 2: Characteristics of disability in adult life

2.6. To what extent does depression limit ability to work or carry out normal activities?

The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R, 2001-2002) estimates that 32.6 to 35.1 million adults (16.2%) experience major depressive disorder at some point in their lives. Major depressive disorder is a serious disorder that is different from normal temporary feelings of sadness. An estimated 13.1 to 14.2 million adults (6.6%) experience major depressive disorder within a given year.

Adults with major depressive disorder in the past twelve months reported an average of 35.2 days in the past year that they were totally unable to work or carry out normal activities due to depression. Those with very severe role impairment missed an average of 96.5 days of work or normal activities.

Adults with major depressive disorder were unable to work or carry out their normal activities for an average of 35.2 days per year.

Figure 12 (see data table for text-only version)

Figure 12: Mean number of days that respondents were unable, due to depression, to work or carry out normal activities in past year, by severity of role impairment

Source: Kessler, Berglund, Demler, et al. (2003)

Surveys: National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), 2001-2002

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