Primary Care Patients with Depression Are Less Accepting of Treatment Than Those Seen by Mental Health Specialists

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine, v. 18, no. 12, Dec. 2003, p. 991-1000

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2002

by Benjamin W van Voorhees, Lisa A. Cooper, Kathryn Rost, Paul Nutting, Lisa V. Rubenstein, Lisa S. Meredith, Nae-Yuh Wang, Daniel Ford

Read More

Access further information on this document at www.blackwell-synergy.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

OBJECTIVE: This study examined whether depressed patients treated exclusively in primary care report less need for care and less acceptability of treatment options than those depressed patients treated in the specialty mental health setting after up to 6 months of treatment. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Forty-five community primary care practices. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 881 persons with major depression who had received mental health services in the previous 6 months and who enrolled in 3 of the 4 Quality Improvement for Depression Collaboration Studies. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Patients were categorized into 1 of 2 groups: 1) having received mental health services exclusively from a primary care provider (45%), or 2) having received any services from a mental health specialist (55%) in the previous 6 months. Compared with patients who received care from mental health specialists, patients who received mental health services exclusively from primary care providers had 2.7-fold the odds (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6 to 4.4) of reporting that no treatment was definitely acceptable and had 2.4-fold the odds (95% CI, 1.5 to 3.9) of reporting that evidence-based treatment options (antidepressant medication) were definitely not acceptable. These results were adjusted for demographic, social/behavioral, depression severity, and economic factors using multiple logistic regression analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with depression treated exclusively by primary care providers have attitudes and beliefs more averse to care than those seen by mental health specialists. These differences in attitudes and beliefs may contribute to lower quality depression care observed in comparisons of primary care and specialty mental health providers.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.