Changing the psychiatric knowledge of primary care physicians. The effects of a brief intervention on clinical diagnosis and treatment

Susan M. Andersen, Barbara Herr Harthorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research examined the malleability of physicians' knowledge about psychiatric disorders (and their recommended treatments) based on a brief educational intervention. Primary care physicians were randomly assigned to a single-session intervention dealing with selected DSM-IIIR affective and anxiety disorders or to a wait-list control group. Posttest (vs. pretest) measures indicated that experimental physicians showed greater increases than controls in diagnostic accuracy on relevant disorders, specifically, major depression, dysthymic disorder, and agoraphobia with panic attacks. Treatment recommendations were also influenced, specifically, for major depression and panic disorder. Interestingly, treatment recommendations were also influenced for certain somatic disorders not addressed in the intervention, suggesting "halo" effects for these disorders. Overall, the intervention was effective in increasing diagnostic knowledge and altering treatment recommendations. Implications for research on psychiatric interventions among physicians are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-190
Number of pages14
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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