BACKGROUND. Variation in the management of depression may be linked to doctors' attitudes to depression. AIM. A study was undertaken comparing the attitudes to depression between general practitioners and psychiatrists. METHOD. A sample of 74 general practitioners and 65 psychiatrists in Wales was surveyed by postal questionnaire. Attitudes were assessed by the depression attitude questionnaire and patient management was assessed by a questionnaire on prescribing practice. RESULTS. General practitioners differed significantly from psychiatrists in attitudes, particularly in areas covering professional ease in dealing with patients with depression and identification of depression. Those general practitioners who reported use of low antidepressant doses were significantly more likely than general practitioners prescribing standard doses to believe in psychotherapeutic treatments. Users of short-term continuation therapy expressed a lack of therapeutic optimism and comfort in dealing with depressed patients. CONCLUSION. General practitioners and psychiatrists differ significantly in their attitudes to depression. The attitudes which vary among general practitioners reflect practice. The depression attitude questionnaire may prove useful in indicating how educational initiatives to improve primary care detection and management should be directed.
Competence and attitudes to suicidal behaviour among physicians are important to provide high-quality care for a large patient group. The aim was to study different physicians’ attitudes towards suicidal behaviour and their perceived competence to care for suicidal patients.
A random selection (n = 750) of all registered General Practitioners, Psychiatrists and Internists in Norway received a questionnaire. The response rate was 40%. The Understanding of Suicidal Patients Scale (USP; scores < 23 = positive attitude) and items about suicide in case of incurable illness from the Attitudes Towards Suicide Questionnaire were used. Five-point Likert scales were used to measure self-perceived competence, level of commitment, empathy and irritation felt towards patients with somatic and psychiatric diagnoses. Questions about training were included.
The physicians held positive attitudes towards suicide attempters (USP = 20.3, 95% CI: 19.6–20.9). Internists and males were significantly less positive. There were no significant differences in the physicians in their attitudes toward suicide in case of incurable illness according to specialty. The physicians were most irritated and less committed to substance misuse patients. Self perceived competence was relatively high. Forty-three percent had participated in courses about suicide assessment and treatment.
The physicians reported positive attitudes and relatively high competence. They were least committed to treat patients with substance misuse. None of the professional groups thought that patients with incurable illness should be given help to commit suicide.
Further customized education with focus on substance misuse might be useful.
Attitudes; Incurable illness; Substance misuse; Suicide attempt; Physicians
Under-recognition of depression is common in many countries. Education of medical staff, focusing on their attitudes towards depression, may be necessary to change their behavior and enhance recognition of depression. Several studies have previously reported on attitudes toward depression among general physicians. However, little is known about attitudes of non-psychiatric doctors in Japan. In the present study, we surveyed non-psychiatric doctors’ attitude toward depression.
The inclusion criteria of participants in the present study were as follows: 1) Japanese non-psychiatric doctors and 2) attendees in educational opportunities regarding depression care. We conveniently approached two populations: 1) a workshop to depression care for non-psychiatric doctors and 2) a general physician-psychiatrist (G-P) network group. We contacted 367 subjects. Attitudes toward depression were measured using the Depression Attitude Questionnaire (DAQ), a 20-item self-report questionnaire developed for general physicians. We report scores of each DAQ item and factors derived from exploratory factor analysis.
We received responses from 230 subjects, and we used DAQ data from 187 non-psychiatric doctors who met the inclusion criteria. All non-psychiatric doctors (n = 187) disagreed with "I feel comfortable in dealing with depressed patients' needs," while 60 % (n = 112) agreed with "Working with depressed patients is heavy going." Factor analysis indicated these items comprised a factor termed "Depression should be treated by psychiatrists" - to which 54 % of doctors (n = 101) agreed. Meanwhile, 67 % of doctors (n = 126) thought that nurses could be useful in depressed patient support. The three factors derived from the Japanese DAQ differed from models previously derived from British GP samples. The attitude of Japanese non-psychiatric doctors concerning whether depression should be treated by psychiatrists was markedly different to that of British GPs.
Japanese non-psychiatric doctors believe that depression care is beyond the scope of their duties. It is suggested that educational programs or guidelines for depression care developed in other countries such as the UK are not directly adaptable for Japanese non-psychiatric doctors. Developing a focused educational program that motivates non-psychiatric doctors to play a role in depression care is necessary to enhance recognition and treatment of depression in Japan.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the attitudes of the general public towards depression before the Defeat Depression Campaign of the Royal Colleges of Psychiatrists and General Practitioners; these results form the baseline to assess the change in attitudes brought about by the campaign. DESIGN: Group discussions generated data for initial qualitative research. The quantitative survey comprised a doorstep survey of 2003 people in 143 places around the United Kingdom. RESULTS: The lay public in general seemed to be sympathetic to those with depression but reluctant to consult. Most (1704 (85%)) believed counselling to be effective but were against antidepressants. Many subjects (1563 (78%)) regarded antidepressants as addictive. CONCLUSIONS: Although people are sympathetic towards those with depression, they may project their prejudices about depression on to the medical profession. Doctors have an important role in educating the public about depression and the rationale for antidepressant treatment. In particular, patients should know that dependence is not a problem with antidepressants.
OBJECTIVE--To identify factors that affect physicians' choice of specific antidepressant drugs in order to evaluate the validity of epidemiological studies of the risks (particularly suicide) and benefits of different compounds. DESIGN--Questionnaire survey of 264 psychiatrists and general practitioners in an urban area and a rural area of Sweden with validation of data by independent prescription surveys. SETTING--Urban area of greater Stockholm and rural county of Jämtland, Sweden. SUBJECTS--228 physicians (86%) who answered the questionnaire. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--The drugs used as first line drugs of choice, as drugs of choice in particularly severe depression, and as drugs of choice for disorders other than depression. RESULTS--Amitriptyline was the most common first line drug of choice among both psychiatrists and general practitioners. The patterns of choice of antidepressants in the two areas accorded with prescribing patterns in two independent prescription surveys. Amitriptyline was chosen even more frequently for severe depression and depression with severe insomnia. Clomipramine was chosen comparatively more often for depression with severe anxiety. Low toxicity compounds (mainly lofepramine, mianserin, and moclobemide) were more often the drug of choice in depression associated with overt risk of suicide. Amitriptyline and clomipramine were used extensively for disorders other than depression (40% and 54% of prescriptions, compared with 13-19% for some other major antidepressants). CONCLUSION--Patient groups treated with different antidepressant compounds may not be comparable with respect to diagnoses and severity of disease. In particular, lofepramine, mianserin, and moclobemide, and possibly amitriptyline, seem to be chosen more often for patients prone to suicide.
Little is known about depressed patients' profiles and how they are managed. The aim of the study is to compare GPs and psychiatrists for 1°) sociodemographic and clinical profile of their patients considered as depressed 2°) patterns of care provision.
The study design is an observational cross-sectional study on a random sample of GPs and psychiatrists working in France. Consecutive inclusion of patients seen in consultation considered as depressed by the physician. GPs enrolled 6,104 and psychiatrists 1,433 patients. Data collected: sociodemographics, psychiatric profile, environmental risk factors of depression and treatment. All clinical data were collected by participating physicians; there was no direct independent clinical assessment of patients to check the diagnosis of depressive disorder.
Compared to patients identified as depressed by GPs, those identified by psychiatrists were younger, more often urban (10.5% v 5.4% – OR = 2.4), educated (42.4% v 25.4% – OR = 3.9), met DSM-IV criteria for depression (94.6% v 85.6% – OR = 2.9), had been hospitalized for depression (26.1% v 15.6% – OR = 2.0) and were younger at onset of depressive problems (all adjusted p < .001). No difference was found for psychiatric and somatic comorbidity, suicide attempt and severity of current depression.
Compared to GPs, psychiatrists more often prescribed tricyclics and very novel antidepressants (7.8% v 2.3% OR = 5.0 and 6.8% v 3.0% OR = 3.8) with longer duration of antidepressant treatment. GPs' patients received more "non-conventional" treatment (8.8% v 2.4% OR = 0.3) and less psychotherapy (72.2% v 89.1% OR = 3.1) (all adjusted p < .001).
Differences between patients mainly concerned educational level and area of residence with few differences regarding clinical profile. Differences between practices of GPs and psychiatrists appear to reflect more the organization of the French care system than the competence of providers.
BACKGROUND. The 'defeat depression' campaign emphasizes the importance of adequate prescribing of antidepressants in general practice. AIM. A study was undertaken to investigate the prescribing habits of a group of general practitioners and psychiatrists. METHOD. A postal questionnaire was sent to 123 general practitioners and 97 psychiatrists in south Wales. RESULTS. The response rate among general practitioners was 60% and among psychiatrists it was 67%. As a group, the psychiatrists reported using significantly higher daily dosages of antidepressant medication for adult and for elderly patients over a longer period compared with general practitioners. Fifty two per cent of 68 general practitioners and 17% of 60 psychiatrists reported using lower than recommended daily treatment dosages for adult patients and 40% of 68 general practitioners and 7% of 62 psychiatrists used a shorter than recommended period of continuation therapy (less than four months). Both groups showed a wide variation in the use of maintenance therapy. CONCLUSION. Educational efforts should be made to improve the prescribing habits of general practitioners and psychiatrists.
AIM: To investigate the prevalence and physicians’ detection rate of depressive and anxiety disorders in gastrointestinal (GI) outpatients across China.
METHODS: A hospital-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in the GI outpatient departments of 13 general hospitals. A total of 1995 GI outpatients were recruited and screened with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The physicians of the GI departments performed routine clinical diagnosis and management without knowing the HADS score results. Subjects with HADS scores ≥ 8 were subsequently interviewed by psychiatrists using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) to make further diagnoses.
RESULTS: There were 1059 patients with HADS score ≥ 8 and 674 (63.64%) of them undertook the MINI interview by psychiatrists. Based on the criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition), the adjusted current prevalence for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and comorbidity of both disorders in the GI outpatients was 14.39%, 9.42% and 4.66%, respectively. Prevalence of depressive disorders with suicidal problems [suicide attempt or suicide-related ideation prior or current; module C (suicide) of MINI score ≥ 1] was 5.84% in women and 1.64% in men. The GI physicians’ detection rate of depressive and anxiety disorders accounted for 4.14%.
CONCLUSION: While the prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders is high in Chinese GI outpatients, the detection rate of depressive and anxiety disorders by physicians is low.
Depression; Anxiety; Prevalence; Gastrointestinal outpatients; Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview
Caring for patients with dementia is a demanding task. Little is known as to whether physicians feel competent enough to perform this task or whether a lack of self-perceived competence influences attitudes and professional approach. Even less is known with respect to potential differences between general practitioners (GPs) and specialists. The purpose of this study was to investigate the interrelationship between the self-perceived competence, attitude and professional approach of physicians in ambulatory care in Germany. A further aim was to compare GPs and specialists with regard to differences in these areas.
A standardised postal survey was sent to 389 GPs and 239 neurologists and psychiatrists in six metropolitan areas in Germany. The 49-item questionnaire consisted of attitudinal statements to be rated on a Likert-type scale. Return rates were 54 percent for GPs and 40 percent for specialists. Statistical methods used to analyze data included correlation analysis, cluster analysis and ordinal regression analysis.
No differences were found between GPs and specialists with regard to their general attitude towards caring for patients with dementia. Approximately 15 percent of both disciplines showed a clearly negative attitude. Self-reported competence was strongly associated with general attitude. In particular among GPs, and less so among specialists, a strong positive association was found between self-reported competence, general attitude and professional approach (e.g. early detection, active case finding and cooperation with caregivers). Differences between GPs and specialists were smaller than expected and appear to predominantly reflect task differences within the German health care system.
Training opportunities which enable in particular GPs to enhance not only their competence but also their general attitude towards dementia care would appear to be beneficial and might carry positive consequences for patients and their caregivers.
BACKGROUND: Many policy and research documents on the treatment of depression in primary care suggest that general practitioners (GPs) should make use of clinical guidelines. AIM: To describe the content of peer-reviewed guidelines for the detection and treatment of depression in primary care and help GPs identify the one most useful to their own needs. METHOD: Guidelines were evaluated by an explicit method using the Institute of Medicine assessment instrument and according to six key clinical management questions identified as important by GPs and psychiatrists. RESULTS: Only five (30%) of the published guidelines identified met all the pre-defined inclusion criteria. Total scores for development process and content ranged from 54% to 82%. Validity scores ranged from 52% to 88%. No guideline answered all the key questions identified by clinicians. CONCLUSIONS: Only two guidelines conform to the quality standard of a clinical practice guideline. One covers all aspects of detection and management of depression in primary care but gives no advice on first-line choice of antidepressant, while the other focuses only on medication and fails to explore problems of case detection or to consider non-pharmacological treatments. However, taken together they do cover most of the key clinical issues in a reliable and valid manner. The identified guidelines vary considerably in both utility and clinical applicability.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common child psychiatry disorders. General physicians (GP), as primary care providers, can have an important role in screening and treatment of ADHD. This study aimed to survey GPs' knowledge, attitude, and their views of their role in the screening, diagnosing and managing children with ADHD.
Six hundred and sixty five general physicians in Shiraz, Iran, answered a self-reported questionnaire on ADHD. The questionnaire consisted of questions regarding socio-demographic characteristics such as age, the duration of practice as a GP, marital status, general knowledge about ADHD, and the management of ADHD.
Less than half of them believed that they have adequate knowledge and information about this disorder. They usually do not like to be the primary care providers for children with ADHD. The majority of them prefer to refer the children to related specialists, mostly psychiatrists or psychologists. More than one third of them believed that sugar is a cause of ADHD. Only 6.6% of them reported that ADHD persists for the whole life. Their knowledge about methylphenidate is reasonable.
As many other countries worldwide, the knowledge of GPs about ADHD should be improved. They do not asses and manage children with probable ADHD by themselves without referring to related professionals. They do not opt for the use of methylphenidate.
Clinical guidelines can improve health-care delivery, but there are a number of challenges in adopting and implementing the current practice guidelines for depression. The aim of this study was to determine clinical experiences and perceived barriers to the implementation of these guidelines in psychiatric care.
A web-based survey was conducted with 386 psychiatric specialists to inquire about experiences and attitudes related to the depression guidelines and barriers influencing the use of the guidelines. Quantitative data were analyzed, and qualitative data were transcribed and coded manually.
Almost three quarters of the psychiatrists (74.6%) were aware of the clinical guidelines for depression, and over half of participants (55.7%) had had clinical experiences with the guidelines in practice. The main reported advantages of the guidelines were that they helped in clinical decision making and provided informative resources for the patients and their caregivers. Despite this, some psychiatrists were making treatment decisions that were not in accordance with the depression guidelines. Lack of knowledge was the main obstacle to the implementation of guidelines assessed by the psychiatrists. Other complaints addressed difficulties in accessing the guidelines, lack of support for mental health services, and general attitudes toward guideline necessity. Overall, the responses suggested that adding a summary booklet, providing teaching sessions, and improving guidance delivery systems could be effective tools for increasing depression guideline usage.
Individual barriers, such as lack of awareness and lack of familiarity, and external barriers, such as the supplying system, can affect whether physicians’ implement the guidelines for the treatment of depression in Korea. These findings suggest that further medical education to disseminate guidelines contents could improve public health for depression.
Depressive disorder; Practice guidelines; Health care surveys; Questionnaires
Several studies reveal poor knowledge about mental illness in the general population and stigmatizing attitudes toward people with mental illness. However, it is unknown whether mental health professionals hold fewer stigmatizing attitudes than the general population. A survey was conducted of the attitudes of mental health professionals (n = 1073) and members of the public (n = 1737) toward mental illness and their specific reaction toward a person with and without psychiatric symptoms (“non-case” as a reference category). Psychiatrists had more negative stereotypes than the general population. Mental health professionals accepted restrictions toward people with mental illness 3 times less often than the public. Most professionals were able to recognize cases of schizophrenia and depression, but 1 in 4 psychiatrists and psychologists also considered the non-case as mentally ill. The social distance toward both major depression and the non-case was lower than toward schizophrenia. However, in this regard, there was no difference between professionals and the public. The study concludes that the better knowledge of mental health professionals and their support of individual rights neither entail fewer stereotypes nor enhance the willingness to closely interact with mentally ill people.
stigma; stereotypes; social distance; mental illness
A survey of consultant attitudes to psychiatry in six general hospitals is presented and compared with reported findings in general practitioners and medical students.
Psychological factors were accepted as important in a variety of medical conditions. Different specialties differed little in their attitudes to neurotic patients and to psychiatrists, younger consultants tending to be more critical. Consultants had a lower level of neuroticism than the general population and medical students, and physicians were less extraverted than surgeons; these personality factors were not related to expressed attitudes.
The results suggest that other specialties accept the role of psychiatry, and its integration into the general hospital is not likely to meet with antagonism.
An important issue concerning the worldwide fight against stigma is the evaluation of psychiatrists’ beliefs and attitudes toward schizophrenia and mental illness in general. However, there is as yet no consensus on this matter in the literature, and results vary according to the stigma dimension assessed and to the cultural background of the sample. The aim of this investigation was to search for profiles of stigmatizing beliefs related to schizophrenia in a national sample of psychiatrists in Brazil.
A sample of 1414 psychiatrists were recruited from among those attending the 2009 Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry. A questionnaire was applied in face-to-face interviews. The questionnaire addressed four stigma dimensions, all in reference to individuals with schizophrenia: stereotypes, restrictions, perceived prejudice and social distance. Stigma item scores were included in latent profile analyses; the resulting profiles were entered into multinomial logistic regression models with sociodemographics, in order to identify significant correlates.
Three profiles were identified. The “no stigma” subjects (n = 337) characterized individuals with schizophrenia in a positive light, disagreed with restrictions, and displayed a low level of social distance. The “unobtrusive stigma” subjects (n = 471) were significantly younger and displayed the lowest level of social distance, although most of them agreed with involuntary admission and demonstrated a high level of perceived prejudice. The “great stigma” subjects (n = 606) negatively stereotyped individuals with schizophrenia, agreed with restrictions and scored the highest on the perceived prejudice and social distance dimensions. In comparison with the first two profiles, this last profile comprised a significantly larger number of individuals who were in frequent contact with a family member suffering from a psychiatric disorder, as well as comprising more individuals who had no such family member.
Our study not only provides additional data related to an under-researched area but also reveals that psychiatrists are a heterogeneous group regarding stigma toward schizophrenia. The presence of different stigma profiles should be evaluated in further studies; this could enable anti-stigma initiatives to be specifically designed to effectively target the stigmatizing group.
Social distance; Stereotype; Prejudice; Psychosis; Mental health professionals
The identification of health care professionals who are incompetent, impaired, exploitative or have criminal intent is important for public safety. It is unclear whether psychiatrists are more likely to commit medical misconduct offences than non-psychiatrists, and if the nature of these offences is different.
The aim of this study was to compare the characteristics of psychiatrists disciplined in Canada and the nature of their offences and disciplinary sentences for the ten years from 2000 through 2009 to other physicians disciplined during that timeframe.
Utilizing a retrospective cohort design, we constructed a database of all physicians disciplined by provincial licensing authorities in Canada for the ten years from 2000 through 2009. Demographic variables and information on type of misconduct violation and penalty imposed were also collected for each physician disciplined. We compared psychiatrists to non-psychiatrists for the various outcomes.
There were 82 (14%) psychiatrists of 606 physicians disciplined in Canada in the ten years from 2000 through 2009, double the national proportion of psychiatrists. Of those disciplined psychiatrists, 8 (9.6%) were women compared to 29% in the national cohort. A total of 5 (6%) psychiatrists committed at least two separate offenses, accounting for approximately 11% of the total violations. A higher proportion of psychiatrists were disciplined for sexual misconduct (OR 3.62 [95% Confidence Interval [CI] 2.45–5.34]), fraudulent behavior (OR 2.32 [95% CI 1.20–4.40]) and unprofessional conduct (OR 3.1 [95% CI 1.95–4.95]). As a result, psychiatrists had between 1.85–4.35 greater risk of having disciplinary penalties in almost all categories in comparison to other physicians.
Psychiatrists differ from non-psychiatrist physicians in the prevalence and nature of medical misconduct. Efforts to decrease medical misconduct by psychiatrists need to be conducted and systematically evaluated.
Depression is the fourth leading cause of the global disease burden, and approximately one in four elderly people may suffer from depression or depressive symptoms. Depression in later life is generally regarded as highly treatable, but under-treatment is still common in this population, especially among those in rural areas where access to healthcare is often an issue. In this study rural primary care physicians’ practices, attitudes, barriers and perceived needs in the diagnosis and treatment of geriatric depression were described, and trends in care delivery examined.
A survey was sent to 162 rural Illinois family physicians and general internists. The survey focused on current practices, attitudes and perceptions regarding geriatric depression, barriers to and needs for improvement in depression care and physician and practice characteristics.
Seventy-six physicians (47%) responded. The rural physicians indicated that over one-third of their patients aged 60 years and older were depressed. All reported routine screening for depression, with 24% using the Beck Depression Inventory. Overall, physicians expressed positive attitudes about their involvement in treating older depressed patients. However, 45% indicated a ‘gap’ between ideal and available care in their rural practices. Physicians with higher proportions of elderly patients in their panels were more likely to feel that more training in residency in geriatric care would be helpful in improving care, and that better availability of psychologists and counselors would be important for improvement of care for older, depressed patients.
This study responds to recent calls to better understand how primary care physicians diagnose and treat depression in older adults. Generally, primary care physicians appear comfortable and prepared in depression diagnosis and management, but factors such as availability of appropriate care remain a challenge.
depression; geriatric; primary care; USA
OBJECTIVE--To assess general practitioners' involvement with long term mentally ill patients and attitudes towards their care. DESIGN--Postal questionnaire survey. SETTING--General practices in South West Thames region. SUBJECTS--507 general practitioners, 369 (73%) of whom returned the questionnaire. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--The number of adult long term mentally ill patients whom general practitioners estimate they have on their lists and general practitioners' willingness to take responsibility for them. RESULTS--110 respondents had noticed an effect of the discharge of adult long term mentally ill patients on their practices. Most (225) respondents estimated that they had 10 or fewer such patients each on their lists. Having higher numbers was significantly associated with practising in Greater London or within three miles of a large mental hospital and having contact with a psychiatrist visiting the practice. 333 general practitioners would agree to share the care of long term mentally ill patients with the psychiatrist by taking responsibility for the patients' physical problems. Only 59 would agree to act as a key worker, 308 preferring the community psychiatric nurse to do it. Only nine had specific practice policies for looking after long term mentally ill patients and 287 agreed that such patients often come to their general practitioner's attention only when there is a crisis. CONCLUSIONS--The uneven distribution of long term mentally ill patients suggests that community pyschiatric resources might be better targeted at those practices with higher numbers of such patients. Most general practitioners seem to be receptive to a shared care plan when the consultant takes responsibility for monitoring psychiatric health with the community nurse as key worker. The lack of practice policies for reviewing the care of long term mentally ill patients must limit general practitioners' ability to prevent crises developing in their care.
Guidelines for depression management have been developed but little is known about GP and patient goals, which are likely to influence treatment offers, uptake, and adherence.
To identify issues of importance to GPs, patients, and patients' supporters regarding depression management. GP and patient goals for depression management became a focus of the study.
Design of study
Grounded theory-based qualitative study.
GPs were drawn from 28 practices. The majority of patients and supporters were recruited from 10 of these practices.
Sixty-one patients (28 depressed, 18 previously depressed, 15 never depressed), 18 supporters, and 32 GPs were interviewed.
GPs described encouraging patients to view depression as separate from the self and ‘normal’ sadness. Patients and supporters often questioned such boundaries, rejecting the notion of a medical cure and emphasising self-management. The majority of participants who were considering depression-management strategies wanted to ‘get out’ of their depression. However, a quarter did not see this as immediately relevant or achievable. They focused on getting by from day to day, which had the potential to clash with GP priorities. GP frustration and uncertainty could occur when depression was resistant to cure. Participants identified the importance of GPs listening to patients, but often felt that this did not happen.
Physicians need greater awareness of the extent to which their goals for the management of depression are perceived as relevant or achievable by patients. Future research should explore methods of negotiating agreed strategies for management.
depression; interviews; mental health; qualitative research; treatment goals
Evidences from literature suggest that Primary Care Physicians’ (PCPs) knowledge and attitude about psychological and pharmacological treatments of anxiety and depressive disorders could influence their clinical practice. The aim of the study is double: 1) to assess PCPs’ opinions about antidepressants (ADs) and psychotherapy for the management of anxiety and depressive disorders; 2) to evaluate the influence of PCPs’ gender, age, duration of clinical practice, and office location on their opinions and attitudes.
This cross-sectional multicentre survey involved 816 PCPs working in four Local Health Units of the Emilia Romagna Region. Participating PCPs were asked to complete a questionnaire during educational meetings between October 2006 and December 2008.
The response rate was 65.1%. Eighty-five percent of PCPs agreed on the effectiveness of ADs for depressive disorder whereas lower agreement emerged for anxiety disorder and on psychotherapy for both anxiety and depression. Forty percent of PCPs reported to feel “very/extremely confident” in recognizing depression and 20.0% felt equally confident in treating it with pharmacotherapy. Considering anxiety disorder, these proportions increased. Female PCPs and those located in the rural/mountain areas reported to adopt more psycho-educational support compared to male and suburban colleagues.
Our results suggest that an effort should be made to better disseminate recent evidences about the management of anxiety and depressive disorders in Primary Care. In particular, the importance of psychological interventions and the role of drugs for anxiety disorder should be addressed.
Anxiety; Depression; Primary care; Antidepressants; Psychotherapy
Attitudes and knowledge about suicide may influence psychiatrists’ management of suicidal patients but there has been little research about this issue in China.
We used the Scale of Public Attitudes about Suicide (SPAS) – a 47-item scale developed and validated in China – to assess knowledge about suicide and seven specific attitudes about suicide in a sample of 187 psychiatrists from six psychiatric hospitals in Shanghai. The results were compared to those of 548 urban community members (assessed in a previous study).
Compared to urban community members, psychiatrists were more likely to believe that suicide can be prevented and that suicide is an important social problem but they had more stigmatizing beliefs about suicidal individuals and felt less empathy for them. The belief that suicide can be prevented was more common among female psychiatrists than male psychiatrists but male psychiatrists felt more empathy for suicidal individuals. Only 37% of the psychiatrists correctly agreed that talking about suicide-related issues with an individual would not precipitate suicidal behavior and only 41% correctly agreed that those who state that they intend to kill themselves may actually do so.
Many psychiatrists in Shanghai harbor negative attitudes about suicidal individuals and are concerned that directly addressing the issue with patients will increase the risk of suicide. Demographic factors, educational status and work experience are associated with psychiatrists’ attitudes about suicide and, thus, need to be considered when training psychiatrists about suicide prevention.
Suicide; Attitudes; Psychiatrists; China
Objective—Consultation of another physician is an important method of review of the practice of euthanasia. For the project "support and consultation in euthanasia in Amsterdam" which is aimed at professionalising consultation, a protocol for consultation was developed to support the general practitioners who were going to work as consultants and to ensure uniformity.
Participants—Ten experts (including general practitioners who were experienced in euthanasia and consultation, a psychiatrist, a social geriatrician, a professor in health law and a public prosecutor) and the general practitioners who were going to use the protocol.
Evidence—There is limited literature on consultation: discursive articles and empirical studies describing the practice of euthanasia.
Consensus—An initial draft on the basis of the literature was commented on by the experts and general practitioners in two rounds. Finally, the protocol was amended after it had been used during the training of consultants.
Conclusions—The protocol differentiates between steps that are necessary in a consultation and steps that are recommended. Guidelines about four important aspects of consultation were given: independence, expertise, tasks and judgment of the consultant. In 97% of 109 consultations in which the protocol was used the consultant considered the protocol to be useful to a greater or lesser extent. Although this protocol was developed locally, it also employs universal principles. Therefore it can be of use in the development of consultation elsewhere.
Key Words: Euthanasia • assisted suicide • consultation • quality assurance • protocol
Objective: To assess the appropriateness of and variation in intention-to-treat decisions in the management of depression in the Netherlands.
Design: Mailed survey with 22 paper cases (vignettes) based on a population study.
Setting: A random sample from four professional groups in the Dutch mental healthcare system.
Subjects: 264 general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and clinical psychologists.
Main outcome measures: Each vignette contained information on a number of patient characteristics taken from three national depression guidelines. The distribution of patient characteristics was based on data from a population study. Respondents were asked to choose the best treatment option and the best treatment setting. For each vignette we examined which of the selected treatments was appropriate according to the recommendations of the three published Dutch clinical guidelines and a panel of experts.
Results: 31% of all intention-to-treat decisions were not consistent with the guidelines. Overall, less severe depression, alcohol abuse, psychotic features, and lack of social resources were related to more inappropriate judgements. There was considerable variation between the professional groups: psychiatrists made more appropriate choices than the other professions although they had the highest rate of overtreatment.
Conclusions: There is sufficient variation in the intentions to treat depression to give it priority in quality assessment and guideline development. Efforts to achieve appropriate care should focus on treatment indications, referral patterns, and overtreatment.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the attitudes and behaviour of family physicians toward patients with eating disorders (EDs) and to assess these physicians' ongoing learning needs. DESIGN: Confidential survey by mail. SETTING: Family practices in London, Ont. PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred thirty-six general FPs. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of FPs seeing patients with EDs, screening and management practices, learning needs. RESULTS: Survey response rate was 87.7%; 64% of respondents were male, 36% were female, and 54% had completed a family medicine residency program. Overall, FPs were more comfortable with diagnosis, and less comfortable with management, of EDs. Most respondents shared care with other professionals, usually psychiatrists and nutritionists. Female physicians had identified a larger number of ED patients in their practices and were more likely to screen routinely for EDs. Three quarters of FPs rated their undergraduate training in EDs as poor, and 59% thought their postgraduate training was poor. Outpatient services, diagnostic issues, screening needs, and management planning were identified as important learning needs. Family physicians thought these needs could be best addressed in interactive workshops or peer-led case-discussion groups. CONCLUSION: Family physicians are important in first-line treatment of EDs, but many barriers prevent effective diagnosis and management. Validated screening tools and management strategies could assist FPs in caring for patients with EDs.
The purpose of this study was to explore how contemporary German psychiatrists think about religiosity/spirituality (ReS) in regard to their therapies. We conducted an anonymous survey among the clinical staff of psychiatry and psychotherapy departments in German university hospitals and faith-based clinics in the same cities. Two main instruments were used, the Duke University Religion Index (DUREL) and the questionnaire from Curlin et al. “Religion and Spirituality in Medicine: Physicians' Perspectives.” A total of 123 psychiatrists participated in this survey. However, due to incomplete responses, only 99 questionnaires from psychiatrists were analyzed. Results show that German psychiatrists positively experience the influence of ReS on patients' mental health. Psychiatrists' own ReS significantly influenced their interpretation of the effect of ReS on psychiatric patients as well as their attitude toward ReS in the clinical setting. The more religious psychiatrists are, the more they tend to observe a positive influence of ReS on mental health. In light of these results, psychiatrists should be aware of their own religious/spiritual characteristics and also reconsider their assumptions about professional neutrality and value openness. Furthermore, training programs on religious/spiritual issues and effective teamwork with chaplains are recommended.