Proposed new diagnoses of anxious depression and bodily stress syndrome in ICD-11-PHC: an international focus group study

Fam Pract. 2013 Feb;30(1):76-87. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cms037. Epub 2012 Jul 28.


Background: The World Health Organization is revising the primary care classification of mental and behavioural disorders for the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11-Primary Health Care (PHC)) aiming to reduce the disease burden associated with mental disorders among member countries.

Objective: To explore the opinions of primary care professionals on proposed new diagnostic entities in draft ICD-11-PHC, namely anxious depression and bodily stress syndrome (BSS).

Methods: Qualitative study with focus groups of primary health-care workers, using standard interview schedule after draft ICD-11-PHC criteria for each proposed entity was introduced to the participants.

Results: Nine focus groups with 4-15 participants each were held at seven locations: Austria, Brazil, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Pakistan, Tanzania and United Kingdom. There was overwhelming support for the inclusion of anxious depression, which was considered to be very common in primary care settings. However, there were concerns about the 2-week duration of symptoms being too short to make a reliable diagnosis. BSS was considered to be a better term than medically unexplained symptoms but there were disagreements about the diagnostic criteria in the number of symptoms required.

Conclusion: Anxious depression is well received by primary care professionals, but BSS requires further modification. International field trials will be held to further test these new diagnoses in draft ICD-11-PHC.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / classification*
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Depression / classification*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / classification*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses
  • Physicians, Primary Care
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Syndrome
  • World Health Organization
  • Young Adult