Assessing depression in primary medical and psychiatric practices

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985 Dec;42(12):1164-70. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790350038008.


A two-stage assessment of newly admitted outpatients at community mental health centers and primary medical care centers found the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale to be highly sensitive but relatively nonspecific when compared with assessments of depression by the Diagnostic Interview Schedule. Considerably higher than usual screening scores are recommended with both patient populations to improve the efficiency of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. The reasons for our finding that primary care clinicians underdiagnose depressive disorder while psychiatric clinicians overdiagnose it relative to the Diagnostic Interview Schedule include varied presentations by each sector's patients, differing clinical acumen, and factors affecting third-party reimbursement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder / classification
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychiatry