Management of depression by general practitioners: impact of physician gender

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2009 Apr;43(4):355-9. doi: 10.1080/00048670902721178.


Objective: The aim of the present study was to determine whether anecdotal claims of gender differences in the treatment of depression by general practitioners (GPs) existed in practice.

Method: Referral letters from 100 GPs to a specialized psychiatric depression clinic were analysed by word count and gender of referrer. Second, a Web-based survey of 517 participants examined the impact of GP gender in terms of levels of management nuances.

Results: The first study established that female GPs wrote distinctly longer referral letters. The second study identified that female GPs were seen as distinctly more caring over a range of parameters and identified the impact of some GP-patient gender differences.

Conclusions: Reasons why female GPs are viewed as more caring - and any impact on the management of those with a depressive disorder - would benefit from refined investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors