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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 56

of 'Screening for depression in adults'

Primary care patients' reactions to mental health screening.
Zimmerman M, Lush DT, Farber NJ, Hartung J, Plescia G, Kuzma MA, Lish J
Int J Psychiatry Med. 1996;26(4):431-41.
OBJECTIVE: The authors examined whether there is empirical support for the notion that medical patients are upset by being asked questions about psychiatric disorders.
METHOD: Six hundred and one patients attending a primary care clinic completed the SCREENER-a newly developed, brief self-administered questionnaire that surveys a broad range of psychopathology. In addition, they completed a second questionnaire that assessed their attitudes toward the SCREENER.
RESULTS: We found a high level of acceptance by patients. The questions were judged easy to answer, and they rarely aroused significant negative affect. Fewer than 2 percent of the patients judged the questions difficult to answer, and fewer than 3 percent were "very much" embarrassed, upset, annoyed, or uncomfortable with the questions. Individuals with a history of psychiatric treatment and poorer current mental health reacted more unfavorably to the questionnaire.
CONCLUSIONS: From the patient's perspective, it is feasible and acceptable to use self-administered questionnaires for routine screening of psychiatric problems in primary care settings.
Rhode Island Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Providence 02903, USA.