Training residents in problem-solving treatment of depression: a pilot feasibility and impact study

Fam Med. 2004 Mar;36(3):204-8.


Background and objectives: Primary care patients with depression may prefer or require a non-pharmacological treatment such as counseling. We investigated the feasibility of teaching family medicine residents an evidence-based brief counseling intervention for depression (Problem-solving Treatment of Depression for Primary Care [PST-PC]).

Methods: Eleven residents over 3 consecutive years were provided a brief training program in PST-PC. Residents were evaluated for skill acquisition, changes in self efficacy, intentions to improve their care for depression, and post-residency integration of PST-PC into their daily practice.

Results: Trainees met established criteria for competency to administer PST-PC. They improved to moderate-to-high levels of self efficacy for treating depression, including for their counseling skills, and in their intentions to improve their depression management. At up to 3 years post residency, 90% indicated they were using PST-PC, often in a modified form, and also for illnesses other than depression. They indicated they would recommend the training to new residents.

Conclusions: The PST-PC training program evaluated in this study is feasible in residency training and appears to influence practice post residency. These findings warrant continued investigation of this training program with a larger sample of residents and evaluation of outcomes with depressed patients treated with PST-PC in real-world practice settings.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / standards
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Problem Solving*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Efficacy