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Asia Pac Psychiatry. 2013 Mar;5(1):E19-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-5872.2012.00208.x. Epub 2012 Jul 23.

Attitudes of primary care physicians towards patients with mental illness in Hong Kong.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. tplam@hku.hk



This study aims to describe the attitudes of primary care physicians towards mental health patients in Hong Kong, especially to examine the doctors' views on schizophrenia and depression, and the influence of their demographic variables.


A questionnaire developed by the research team was sent to members of Hong Kong College of Family Physicians. Potential respondents were allocated on equal basis to one of the two sets of questionnaire, set 1 for clinical vignette of schizophrenia and set 2 for depression.


A response rate of 37% (500 of 1,360) was achieved. There were 255 and 245 returned questionnaires for set 1 and set 2, respectively. Comparing the two clinical vignettes, there were large differences in their willingness to have the patient on practice list for mental issues (40.0% for schizophrenia versus 71.5% for depression) and to deal with the patient's needs (37.0% versus 60.9%). Multiple ordinal logistic regression analysis showed that doctors with the following demographic factors tended to have more worries or stigma on mental health patients: "having longer years of practice," "being female," "working in hospital," "employed in public sector," and "not having a relative/friend with mental health problems."


Our study shows that two-thirds of primary care doctors are prepared to look after patients with depression, which is substantially higher than that for schizophrenia. In contrast with the Australian findings, the experienced doctors in Hong Kong have more negative attitudes towards mental health patients than the younger ones.

Copyright © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.


attitude; depression; family physician; primary care; schizophrenia

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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