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Effect of patient gender on late-life depression management
Quantitative Health Sciences Publications and Presentations
  • Susan M. Frayne, Stanford University
  • Katherine M. Skinner, Boston University
  • Hai Lin, Bedford Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Arlene S. Ash, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Karen M. Freund, Boston University
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Quantitative Health Sciences
Publication Date
Document Type
Adult; Attitude of Health Personnel; Depression; Diagnosis, Differential; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; New England; Physician's Practice Patterns; *Physician-Patient Relations; Primary Health Care; Quality Assurance, Health Care; Questionnaires; Sex Factors; Time Factors; Videotape Recording; *Women's Health

PURPOSE: To determine whether patient gender influences physicians' management of late-life major depression in older and younger elderly patients.

METHODS: In 1996-2001, physician subjects viewed a professionally produced videotape vignette portraying an elderly patient meeting diagnostic criteria for major depression, then answered interviewer-administered questions about differential diagnosis and treatment. Patient gender and other characteristics were systematically varied in different versions of the videotape, but clinical content was held constant. This was a stratified random sample of 243 internists and family physicians with Veterans Health Administration (VA) or non-VA ambulatory care practices in the Northeastern United States. Outcomes were whether physicians followed a guideline-recommended management approach: treating with antidepressants or mental health referral or both and seeing the patient for follow-up within 2 weeks.

RESULTS: Only 19% of physicians recommended treating depression (12% recommended antidepressants and 7% mental health referral), and 43% recommended follow-up within 2 weeks. Patient gender did not influence management recommendations in either younger old (67 year old) or older old (79 year old) patients (p > 0.12 for all comparisons).

CONCLUSIONS: Gender disparities previously documented in the management of major conditions are not seen for the management of depression, a potentially stigmatized condition that does not require resource-intense interventions.

DOI of Published Version
J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2004 Oct;13(8):919-25. Link to article on publisher's site
PubMed ID
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
Citation Information
Susan M. Frayne, Katherine M. Skinner, Hai Lin, Arlene S. Ash, et al.. "Effect of patient gender on late-life depression management" Vol. 13 Iss. 8 (2005) ISSN: 1540-9996 (Linking)
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