Evid Based Nurs 8:27 doi:10.1136/ebn.8.1.27
  • Qualitative

Patients with anxiety and depression wanted to know what to expect when they started their medication

 Q How do mental health problems and treatment of these problems affect working life?


Qualitative study using focus groups.


Leicestershire, UK.


12 focus groups. 9 groups of patients who had anxiety and/or depression in the previous 2 years and used medication (6 groups: 35 patients [28–60 y, 63% women] from various work sectors; 3 groups: 19 patients [18–63 y, 74% women] attending anxiety management courses). 3 groups of 20 staff who had responsibility for human resources, personnel, and occupational health and safety (age not reported, 65% women).


Each focus group session (approximately 90 min) was audiotaped and transcribed. Transcripts were analysed by sorting verbatim material into emergent themes using Knodel’s method. An expert panel reviewed the findings to discuss implications for practice.


Impact on working life. Participants shared how their families, friends, or colleagues often recognised their depression or anxiety symptoms first. Typically, participants were unaware until a crisis occurred. Symptoms included nausea, headache, dizziness, trembling, lack of energy, tiredness, lack of concentration, extremes of emotion, and lack of motivation. Sleep patterns were disturbed, which perpetuated the feeling of tiredness. Most respondents felt that their work performance …

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