Primary care physicians' attitude toward diagnosis and treatment of late-life depression
Underdiagnosis and undertreatment of late-life depression is common, especially in primary care settings. To help assess whether physicians attitude and confidence in diagnosing and managing depression serve as barriers to care, a total of 176 physicians employed in 18 primary care groups were administered surveys to assess attitudes towards diagnosis, treatment, and management of depression in elderly patients, (individuals over 65 years of age). Logistic regression was performed to assess the association of physician characteristics on attitudes. Nearly all of the physicians surveyed felt that depression in the elderly was a primary care problem, and 41% reported late-life depression as the most common problem seen in older patients. Physicians were confident in their ability to diagnose and manage depression, yet 45% had no medical education on depression in the previous three years. Physicians confidence in their ability to diagnose, treat, and manage depression, and their reported adequacy of training, do not appear to correspond to the amount of continuing medical education in depression, suggesting that physician overconfidence may potentially be serving as a barrier to care.