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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


MARI, Jair de Jesus et al. Detection of psychiatric morbidity in the primary medical care setting in Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1987, vol.21, n.6, pp.501-507. ISSN 1518-8787.

The aims of this study were a) to assess the ability of primary care doctors to make accurate ratings of psychiatric disturbance and b) to evaluate the use of a case-finding questionnaire in the detection of psychiatric morbidity. The estudy took place in three primary care clinics in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, during a six-month survey. A time sample of consecutive adult attenders were asked to complete a case-finding questionnaire for psychiatric disorders (the Self Report Questionnaire - SRQ) and a subsample were selected for a semi-structured psychiatric interview (the Clinical Interview Schedule - CIS). At the end of the consultation the primary care doctors were asked to assess, in a standardized way, the presence or absence of psychiatric disorder; these assessments were then compared with that ratings obtained in the psychiatric interview. A considerable proportion of minor psychiatric morbidity remained undetected by the three primary care doctors: the hidden morbidity ranged from 22% to 79%. When these were compared to those of the case-finding questionnaire, they were consistently lower, indicating that the use of these instruments can enhance the recognition of psychiatric disorders in primary care settings. Four strategies for adopting the questionnaire are described, and some of the clinical consequences of its use are discussed.

Keywords : Mental disorders [diagnosis]; Mass screening [methods]; Primary health care.

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