A survey of anxiety and depression symptoms among primary-care physicians in China

Int J Psychiatry Med. 2012;44(3):257-70. doi: 10.2190/PM.44.3.f.


Objective: Anxiety and depression disorder are the most prevalent mental health problems. However, few studies are available pertaining to these problems among Chinese doctors, especially the assessment of the anxiety and depression symptoms among primary-care providers. The aim of this study was to assess the anxiety and depression symptoms among Chinese primary-care physicians and their associated factors.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 451 primary-care physicians in Shanghai China (effective response rate was 79.8%). There were 177 male physicians and 274 female physicians with average age of 37.8 (SD +/- 11.1) years. Questionnaire pertaining to depression disorder was indicated by the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) and anxiety disorder was indicated by the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS).

Results: The average SAS and SDS standard scores of the primary-care physicians were 41.1 +/- 11.5 and 46.5 +/- 11.8 respectively. Both of the scale scores were higher than those of Chinese national norms (P both < 0.001). SDS standard score > or = 53 and SAS standard score > or = 50 were regarded as screening-positive criteria. SAS and SDS screening positive rates of primary-care physicians were 18.0% and 31.7% respectively. In addition, married/cohabited and divorced/widowed physicians aged over 30 years with educational background of junior college had higher risks of anxiety and depression disorders.

Conclusions: Chinese primary-care physicians were at considerably high risk of anxiety and depression disorders, which was worthy of attention during healthcare system reform in China.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians, Primary Care / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Surveys and Questionnaires