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High incidence of disability pension with a psychiatric diagnosis in western Sweden. A population-based study from 1980 to 1998

Journal article
Authors Lena Andersson
Carin Staland Nyman
Fredrik Spak
Gunnel Hensing
Published in WORK
Volume 26
Issue 4
Pages 343-353
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 343-353
Language en
Subject categories Psychiatry, Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


Abstract Regional differences in Sweden in the prevalence of disability pension with a psychiatric diagnosis are unexplained, in spite of the significant impact on the population's health, rehabilitation systems, and the health care system. The purpose of this study was to describe the pattern of disability pensions with a psychiatric diagnosis and to analyze the impact of age and gender. We examined the incidence rates in one urban and one semi-rural region and compared these to national rates. The study sample was drawn from employed persons between 16-64 years of age who, because of their sickness insurance coverage, would be eligible to access disability pensions should it be necessary. Analysis of annual incidences and standardized morbidity ratios were made for 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, and 1998. Data on disability pension cases were collected from the National Social Insurance registers. In the urban region we found that the proportion of men and women clearly outnumbered the national average: approximately twice the number of persons between 16-64 years of age with a psychiatric diagnosis were receiving a disability pension. In the semi-rural region there were fewer men overall on disability pensions with psychiatric disorders, but in 1980, 1985, and 1995 women clearly outnumbered men. Access to psychiatric care, unemployment, alcohol dependence, and previous sickness absence are suggested as possible factors that might affect the rates of disability pension in different geographical settings.

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