This article examines the prevalence, nature, and comorbidity of depressive disorders using DSM-III-R criteria among patients recruited from the waiting rooms of family physicians. A total of 1928 family practice patients completed a screening form including the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), and patients with elevated CES-D scores were oversampled for possible interviews using the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-III-R (SCID). In the resulting weighted sample of 425, a prevalence of 13.5% was obtained for major depression and 22.6% for all depressive disorders. Over 40% of the patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) were only mildly depressed. Gender and other demographic variables failed to distinguish depressed patients, but a variety of self-ratings did. Depression was associated with comorbid anxiety disorders and substance abuse. Results are discussed in terms of the implications of depression in primary care as a public health problem, but also in terms of some diagnostic issues, particularly the use of an impairment criterion for major depression.