Co-occurring depression and alcohol misuse is under-identified in general practice: A cross-sectional study

J Health Psychol. 2018 Jul;23(8):1085-1095. doi: 10.1177/1359105316643855. Epub 2016 Apr 25.


Depression and alcohol misuse are common co-occurring conditions. This study aimed to determine the accuracy of general practitioner identification of depression and alcohol misuse. Participants from 12 Australian general practices reported demographic and health risk behaviour data. General practitioners were asked to indicate the presence or absence of six health risk factors for individual patients. Accuracy of general practitioner identification was low at 21 per cent. Those with severe alcohol misuse, no chronic diseases and lower education levels were more likely to be identified. Routine screening prior to patient appointments may be a simple and efficient way to increase identification rates.

Keywords: alcohol drinking; depression; dual diagnosis; general practice; health care systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Australia
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • General Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • General Practitioners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult