Do individuals with bipolar disorder achieve good employment outcomes? Acta Psy Scand.Sep.2013


Being employed is a marker of recovery and social inclusion. Even though Bipolar disorder is among the top 10 causes of years lost to disability, we do not know much about the real world long-term employment outcomes for individuals with bipolar disorder. Marwaha S, Durrani A &  Singh S report the results of the first systematic review  of all prospective studies on employment outcomes in bipolar disorder .Minimum follow up required was 6 months.  Employment needed to be a payed job to be included in the analysis.


25 studies met all inclusion criteria. Duration of follow up (mean) was 5 years.Most of these reported approximately 40–60% of people are in employment. Most moderate quality and all high quality studies supported the upper end of this range. The employment rate in adult general populations between 60-75%.Work functioning data suggest that majority do not appear to have major problems.  Some studies have reported a downward drift in occupational status over time. 

Limitations: Comparing employment data  over time from different countries is difficult. ( e.g.: definitions changeover time ) . The general population data is inclusive of those with bipolar disorder as well. There are only a limited number of high quality studies in this area. No information on sub populations of bipolar disorder is available.Most literature  originated from US, limiting generalisability. Data on work functioning was gathered by questionnaires only.

Conclusions: Up to 60% of people with bipolar disorder are in employment over the longer term. A downward drift in occupational status over time is also observed.

Summary of the article:

Employment outcomes in people with bipolar disorder: a systematic review.

Marwaha S, Durrani A, Singh S. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2013 Sep;128(3):179-93.


Marwaha S, Durrani A, Singh S.

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