Twenty-five percent of adolescents and young adults will experience a depressive episode by age 24, yet fewer than 20 percent receive high-quality care. In a cross-sectional study of 10,962 young adults aged 16 to 29 years with significant depressive symptoms, more than one quarter (26 percent) of the participants said they did not intend to accept their physician's diagnosis of depression.

The authors uncovered a number of reasons why these patients refused the diagnosis of depression. Among the most important reasons were the belief that the treatment does not work, concern about the stigma from family and friends, and lack of past helpful treatment experiences.

These findings suggest that negative attitudes and concerns about stigma may be important barriers to youth accepting and complying with treatment. The authors assert that improved reimbursement to primary care physicians for visits in which they negotiate diagnosis and treatment plans with depressed patients could improve treatment rates.

Beliefs and Attitudes Associated with the Intention Not to Accept the Diagnosis of Depression Among Young Adults By Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, M.D., M.P.H., et al

Angela Lower - American Academy of Family Physicians

January/February Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet

Annals of Family Medicine is a peer-reviewed research journal that provides a cross-disciplinary forum for new, evidence-based information affecting the primary care discipline. Launched in May 2003, the journal is sponsored by six family medical organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Board of Family Practice, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, the Association of Departments of Family Medicine, the Association of Family Practice Residency Directors and the North American Primary Care Research Group. The journal is published six times each year and contains original research from the clinical, biomedical, social and health services areas, as well as contributions on methodology and theory, selected reviews, essays and editorials. A board of directors with representatives from each of the sponsoring organizations oversees Annals. Complete editorial content and interactive discussion groups can be accessed free of charge on the journal's Web site, American Academy of Family Physicians.

Reprinted with permission from January 26, 2005