Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Gen Intern Med. 2003 Dec;18(12):991-1000.

Primary care patients with depression are less accepting of treatment than those seen by mental health specialists.

Author information

  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.



This study examined whether depressed patients treated exclusively in primary care report less need for care and less acceptability of treatment options than those depressed patients treated in the specialty mental health setting after up to 6 months of treatment.


Cross-sectional study.


Forty-five community primary care practices.


A total of 881 persons with major depression who had received mental health services in the previous 6 months and who enrolled in 3 of the 4 Quality Improvement for Depression Collaboration Studies.


Patients were categorized into 1 of 2 groups: 1) having received mental health services exclusively from a primary care provider (45%), or 2) having received any services from a mental health specialist (55%) in the previous 6 months. Compared with patients who received care from mental health specialists, patients who received mental health services exclusively from primary care providers had 2.7-fold the odds (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6 to 4.4) of reporting that no treatment was definitely acceptable and had 2.4-fold the odds (95% CI, 1.5 to 3.9) of reporting that evidence-based treatment options (antidepressant medication) were definitely not acceptable. These results were adjusted for demographic, social/behavioral, depression severity, and economic factors using multiple logistic regression analysis.


Patients with depression treated exclusively by primary care providers have attitudes and beliefs more averse to care than those seen by mental health specialists. These differences in attitudes and beliefs may contribute to lower quality depression care observed in comparisons of primary care and specialty mental health providers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk