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Br J Psychiatry. 2001 Jan;178(1):18-22.

Accuracy of general practitioner's prognosis of the 1-year course of depression and generalised anxiety.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Graduate School of Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.



A prognosis serves important functions for the management of common mental disorders in primary care.


To establish the accuracy of the general practitioner's (GP) prognosis.


The agreement between GP prognosis and observed course was determined for 138 cases of ICD-10 depression and 65 of generalised anxiety disorder, identified among consecutive attenders of 18 GPs.


Modest agreement between GP prognosis and course was found, both for depression (kappa=0.21) and generalised anxiety (kappa=0.11). Better agreement (kappa=0.45 for depression, and kappa=0.33 for generalised anxiety) was observed between the course and predictions from a statistical model based on information potentially available to the GP at the time the prognosis was made. This model assesses attainable performance for GPs.


General practitioners do a fair job in predicting the 1-year course of depression and generalised anxiety. Even so, their performance falls significantly short of attainable performance.

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