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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2006 Jan-Feb;28(1):27-36.

Treating minority patients with depression and anxiety: what does the evidence tell us?

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, 98104, USA.



The purpose of this study is to examine the current state of knowledge regarding treating ethnic/racial minority patients with mood and anxiety disorders, emphasizing data-based studies whenever possible.


This article reviews the evidence on poorer access and quality of care for minorities, the biological and cultural differences between minority and majority populations that may impact care and outcomes, and recent studies that address minority treatment response and outcomes both alone and in comparison to majority groups.


Numerous impediments to appropriately treating anxious and depressed minority patients remain. Underutilization and poor quality of mental health care in minorities is due to less-than-favorable illness and treatment beliefs that affect adherence and outcome, stigma, clinician failure to engage the patient, poor patient activation and biological differences that may impact pharmacotherapy choice. However, though limited in number, some studies do indicate that when appropriate treatment is well-delivered to minorities, results are comparable to those seen among Caucasian patients.


The clinician treating members of minority groups must consider differential personal elements, from the biological to the cultural, to achieve treatment success. The limited available data do suggest that minority patients can be successfully treated with available interventions. Of primary importance is for researchers to increase the number of carefully designed intervention studies that allow for ethnic/racial minority-specific analyses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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