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J Fam Pract. 1981 May;12(5):849-54.

Influence of stereotypes in the diagnosis of depression by family practice residents.


The focus of this study was on the diagnosis of depression by family practice residents. The sensitivity and specificity of the residents for depression were determined by comparing their diagnoses with the results of an objective assessment of depression for a group of 222 ambulatory patients from a family practice center. The objective assessment involved the administration of the Beck Depression Index to the patients, whereas charts were audited for resident diagnoses. The results indicated that the sensitivity and specificity of the residents' diagnostic acumen for depression were .18 and .90, respectively. In addition, the operation of a sex stereotype was suggested by an analysis which revealed that a disproportionate number of females were diagnosed as depressed by the residents. These results suggest that an increased emphasis be placed on the diagnosis of common psychiatric problems such as depression in family practice residency programs.

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