Preferences for treatment in primary care: a comparison of nondepressive, subsyndromal and major depressive patients

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2006 Mar-Apr;28(2):178-80. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2005.10.001.


Objective: In recent years, patients' preferences concerning treatment of emotional distress in general and of depression in particular have received more emphasis in the clinical setting as well as in research.

Methods: The treatment preferences of 607 primary care patients were assessed in a cross-sectional study using a questionnaire. Besides having the opportunity to choose between psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment, the patients could also decline or choose both treatment options at one time. Moreover, the preferences of subsyndromal, major depression and nondepressive patients were compared.

Results: A total of 305 (51%) patients exclusively preferred psychotherapy and 110 (18%) exclusively preferred pharmacological treatment. Although 70 (12%) patients declined both forms of treatment, 113 (19%) could imagine using both treatment options. Patients with subsyndromal depression did not differ from patients with major depression in their preferences. Both groups, however, less frequently declined pharmacological treatment compared to nondepressive patients.

Conclusions: Patients with subsyndromal and major depression are similar in the primary care setting with regard to their treatment preferences. The preference for combination treatment is rather low, which should be considered in routine clinical care [corrected]

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comment
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires