Are psychiatrists' characteristics related to how they care for depression in the medically ill? Results from a national case-vignette survey.
The authors' goal was to examine the relationship between psychiatrists' characteristics and their decisions regarding depression care. A national sampling of 278 psychiatrists answered diagnosis and treatment questions for one of four case vignettes with depression and various degrees of medical comorbidity. They also responded to a questionnaire assessing practice and demographic characteristics. Tendency to diagnose major depression was significantly associated with being board certified, being in practice for less time, having a greater percentage of patients with managed care, and having a greater percentage of patients on psychotropic medications. Tendency to recommend an antidepressant was significantly associated with the psychiatrist being male, being less satisfied with practice, and having a greater percentage of patients on psychotropic medications. These findings remained significant even after controlling for case characteristics. Diagnostic and prescribing tendencies of psychiatrists appear to be associated with specific physician characteristics and not simply case characteristics. These findings have implications for further studies of predictors of quality of care.
Epstein, SA; Gonzales, JJ; Weinfurt, K; Boekeloo, B; Yuan, N; Chase, G
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