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Detection of anxiety and depression by surgeons and significant others in females attending a breast clinic.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/1998
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number1
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)4-11
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This study examined the ability of surgeons and significant others to evaluate psychological distress in patients attending a breast clinic. Ratings of anxiety and depression were obtained from 164 patients, 51 accompanying significant others and 9 surgeons. Interviews were conducted with participating surgeons to assess how they recognized psychological distress in their patients. Forty-four (26.8%) patients were anxious, and only 5 (3%) depressed. Analysis demonstrated a significant tendency of surgeons to underestimate. Anxiety ratings from the significant others were significantly associated with patient's self-ratings. Significant others appeared a better source of proxy data than surgeons. Content analysis of the surgeon's interviews suggested that time constraints forced a reliance on behavioural cues to identify psychological distress. It was concluded that surgeons may facilitate patient care by lowering their threshold for attributing such cues to psychological distress.