Coherence Between Physician Diagnosis and Patient Self Reports of Anxiety and Depression in Primary Care


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Abstract

Mood and anxiety disorders complicate the care of patients with physical illness and pose challenges for primary care physicians. This study explored the coherence between a screening tool (PRIME-MD), a standardized questionnaire (Eysenck Personality Inventory), and physician diagnoses of anxiety and depression. Of 165 patients, 29% had diagnoses of depression, 21% had anxiety, and 59% had no mental health diagnosis. Patients who were younger, female, divorced/widowed, or unemployed with minimal education had highest prevalence of anxiety or depression. Scores on the self-report inventories were significantly higher in patients with physician-diagnosed anxiety or depression compared with those without these diagnoses. Medical use and chronic illness were highest in patients with anxiety or depression diagnoses. Despite the statistical agreement between the self-report inventories and physician diagnosis, the coherence among these measures was less than optimal. Use of self report tools is recommended to complement physician understanding of patient symptom description and management of anxiety and depression in primary care.

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