What do general practitioners think depression is? A taxonomy of distress and depression for general practice

Clarke, David M., Cook, Kay, Smith, Graeme C. and Piterman, Leon 2008, What do general practitioners think depression is? A taxonomy of distress and depression for general practice, Medical journal of Australia, vol. 188, no. 12, Supplement, pp. S110-S113.

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Title What do general practitioners think depression is? A taxonomy of distress and depression for general practice
Author(s) Clarke, David M.
Cook, Kay
Smith, Graeme C.
Piterman, Leon
Journal name Medical journal of Australia
Volume number 188
Issue number 12
Season Supplement
Start page S110
End page S113
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing Company Pty. Ltd.
Place of publication Sydney, N.S.W.
Publication date 2008-06-16
ISSN 0025-729X
Keyword(s) anxiety disorders
doctor patient relation
clinical competence
physician-patient relations
Summary Objective:
To create a taxonomy of distress and depression for use in primary care, that mirrors the thinking and practice of experienced general practitioners.

Qualitative study, using an ethnomethodological approach, with observation of videotaped routine GP–patient consultations and in-depth interviews with GPs.

Setting and participants:
The study was conducted in metropolitan Melbourne in 2005. Fourteen GPs conducted 36 patient consultations where depression was a focus; nine GPs participated in in-depth interviews to elicit details of how they recognised and diagnosed depression in their patients.

GPs consider distress and depression in three steps. In the first step, a change in a group of symptoms and signs is observed (eg, facial expression, loss of drive). The second step categorises the syndrome according to whether or not there is an identifiable environmental cause (reactive or “endogenous”), with the final step categorising the reactive syndromes according to their most prominent symptoms: either anxiety and worry, or helplessness and hopelessness. The resulting taxonomy includes: endogenous depression (a chronic and perhaps characterological depression characterised by a lack of interest and motivation); anxious depressive reaction (stress or worry); and hopeless depressive reaction (demoralisation).

This simple and parsimonious taxonomy has validity based on its derivation from within the primary care setting.

Language eng
Field of Research 111717 Primary Health Care
Socio Economic Objective 920203 Diagnostic Methods
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30017782

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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