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Dan Med J. 2018 Jul;65(7). pii: A5492.

Danish general practitioners' professional attention to children of parents with depression.

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Offspring of parents with depression has an increased risk of experiencing somatic and psychiatric diseases. Early child support can reduce this risk. This study aimed to describe general practitioners' (GPs) professional attention to children of depressed patients.


This was a survey study. We mailed ques-tion-naires to randomly selected Danish GPs.


Among the 1,760 GPs invited, 890 (51%) partici-pated. Female GPs accounted for 45% of the respondents and 41% of the total GP population (p = 0.02). Respondents were younger than the mean GP population. A total of 94% of the GPs reported that giving attention to children of de-pressed parents was relevant, and 65% reported addressing the children's well-being during the consultation with the parent. A total of 39% of the GPs found that their knowledge about the significance of parental depression for the child was poor, and 41% were highly interested in learning more. Female GPs perceived that they had sufficient knowledge (66%) more frequently than male GPs (56%) (p < 0.001). GPs with sufficient perceived knowledge addressed the children's well-being more frequently than GPs with poor perceived knowledge (odds ratio = 5.8; 95% confidence interval: 4.14-8.07).


This study showed a significant, under-utilised potential for improving GPs' awareness about children of parents with depression. Perceived knowledge of the potential impact of parental depression was crucial for the attention given to the children.


The study was funded by The Central Denmark Region and the Danish National Research Foundation for Primary Care.


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