The identification of psychiatric illness by primary care physicians: the effect of patient gender.

Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
Journal of General Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.42). 5(4):355-60. DOI: 10.1007/BF02600406
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study tested several hypotheses about why women are more likely than men to have psychiatric disorders noted by their primary care physicians.
Patients were screened for mental disorders using the General Health Questionnaire. A stratified sample was assessed using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia. Information on utilization and identification of mental health problems was abstracted from the medical records.
The study was conducted at a multispecialty group practice in a semirural area of Wisconsin.
Study participants consisted of a stratified probability sample of 247 patients seeking primary care.
Patients with a psychiatric illness who were relatively frequent users of the clinic were most likely to be identified by a physician as having a mental health problem. When psychiatric illness and utilization rates were statistically controlled, men and women had comparable identification rates.