Effects of a depression education program on residents' knowledge, attitudes, and clinical skills

Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Jan;101(1):167-74. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(02)02510-3.


Objective: To determine whether an interactive educational program would improve obstetrics and gynecology residents' knowledge, attitudes, confidence, and skills in caring for depressed patients.

Methods: We recruited 74 residents from eight residency programs to attend the Depression Education Program, which consists of a 1-hour lecture and two 2-hour workshops combining discussion, diagnosis and treatment tools, critique of a videotape, practice with feedback, and audiotape self-assessment. Before and after the program, participants 1) completed a questionnaire measuring knowledge, attitudes, and reported actions taken with a recent depressed patient; 2) received a standardized patient visit; and 3) kept lists of patients they suspected were depressed. Clinic patients completed a depression screening questionnaire. To assess improvement, we used paired t tests, McNemar chi2 tests, and multivariate models adjusting for training site.

Results: The education program led to 3-month improvements in participants' reported use of formal diagnostic criteria (38% before, 66% after; P =.004), clinical actions documented for suspected depression (P =.035), and perceived self-efficacy in depression care (P <.001). Perceived preparedness to diagnose depression, treat with medications, and comanage with a mental health practitioner improved (P <.05 for each). Small improvements in clinical behaviors with standardized patients and clinic-based depression detection rates were not statistically significant.

Conclusion: The Depression Education Program improved residents' knowledge, confidence, and reported clinical actions with depressed patients, but did not improve most objectively assessed outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Depression*
  • Female
  • Gynecology / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Obstetrics / education*