Outcomes of recognizing depressed Chinese American patients in primary care

Int J Psychiatry Med. 2005;35(3):213-24. doi: 10.2190/11DA-XNQR-WYXR-AGXK.


Purpose: This study aims to examine the effect of identifying Chinese American patients as having major depressive disorder (MDD) to their primary care physicians (PCPs) on the latter's attention given to the treatment of depression.

Methodology: Forty Chinese American patients from a primary care clinic were identified as having major depressive disorder (MDD), and their primary care physicians (PCPs) were notified of the diagnosis by letter. Three months later, medical records of subjects in the study were reviewed to see if their PCPs had intervened through referral and/or initiated treatment of depression.

Results: PCPs documented intervention in 19 patients (47%) regarding their depression. Two of these patients (11%) were started on an antidepressant. Four (21%) accepted and 13 (68%) declined referral to mental health services. No intervention was recorded for 21 (53%) patients.

Conclusion: We conclude that recognition alone of MDD among Chinese Americans in the community primary care setting does not lead to adequate initiation of treatment for depression by PCPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Asian / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Recognition, Psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome