Psychotic disorders linked to high productivity costs - differences between schizophrenia and other psychoses

There are differences in productivity costs between schizophrenia and other psychoses. A University of Oulu study examined the monetary value of reduced work capacity and productivity losses associated with different psychosis disorders.
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Psychotic disorders are serious mental disorders that often lead to reduced work capacity and thus to high social costs. Productivity costs are the productivity losses that occur when work is not done because of the illness and the value it generates is lost. The monetary value of reduced work capacity and productivity losses associated with psychosis disorders has not been previously studied in Finland, nor compared between schizophrenia and other psychosis disorders.

The study by the Faculty of Medicine and the University of Oulu Business School evaluated the productivity costs of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders using the human capital method and the frictional cost method. The former describes costs from the perspective of the employee and the latter from the perspective of the employer.

Using the human capital method, productivity costs per person were higher for schizophrenia (€193,940) than for other psychoses (€163,080), but using the frictional cost method, productivity costs were higher for other psychoses (€4,430) than for schizophrenia (€2,720). Different demographic and occupational factors caused variations in costs.

"Differences in productivity costs between psychosis disorders are important to consider from an individual perspective, for example when planning rehabilitation. From a broader perspective, these differences need to be taken into account in societal decision-making, such as when planning and funding social and health care services," says Post-doctoral Researcher Tuomas Majuri.

The study data was based on the 1966 Northern Finland birth cohort combined with individual and population-level data from several national registers. Productivity costs were calculated from age 18 to age 53 and projected to retirement age.

"The productivity costs of psychosis disorders have never before been calculated over such a long-time horizon, nor estimated with such precision at international level, as our data and methodology allowed," says Majuri.

The study has been published in the prestigious international journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

The article: Majuri, T., Nerg, I., Huikari, S. et al. Productivity costs of schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders by friction cost and human capital methods: The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2024).

Last updated: 26.3.2024