Effects of rehabilitative psychotherapy on labour market success: Evaluation of a nationwide programme

Laura Peutere, Terhi Ravaska, Petri Bӧckerman, Ari Vӓӓnӓnen, Pekka Virtanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Aims: Psychotherapy is a widely used treatment for mental disorders, but whether it also improves employment and other labour market outcomes remains inconclusive. This study examined the effectiveness of a nationwide subsidized psychotherapy programme using extensive register-based data. Methods: The sample consisted of individuals who applied for rehabilitative psychotherapy in Finland in 2009–2012 (n = 35,083). Prior to 2011, some applications were rejected due to the limited budget that the central government provided for the programme. From 2011, all eligible applicants were granted rehabilitation. We used propensity score matching to create balanced samples of those who received a negative decision in 2009–2010 (n = 2047) and those who were granted rehabilitative psychotherapy in 2011–2012 (n = 12,046) in terms of their sociodemographic background characteristics, prior labour market attachment and health status. Results: We found that compared to the applicants who were not accepted to the programme, the granted applicants with similar background characteristics had, on average, a six-percentage-point higher employment rate, €2100 higher annual earnings and a six-percentage-point lower probability of becoming a disability benefit recipient five years after their first application. Further sensitivity analyses confirmed that these results were not biased, for example, by differences in macroeconomic conditions during the follow-up. Conclusions: Quasi-experimental research design showed that rehabilitative psychotherapy was significantly associated with better labour market outcomes. Although several relevant background factors were included in the matching analysis, it is possible that some unobserved factors explain both access to psychotherapy and subsequent labour market outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalSCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Employment
  • income
  • mental disorders
  • psychotherapy
  • rehabilitation
  • work disability

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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