Psychiatric symptom presentation in ethnically diverse cardiology patients

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Ethnicity, cardiology, depres- sion, distress, mental health screening


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Objectives: The purpose of our study was to examine rates of depression and distress among different ethnic groups receiving care in an outpatient cardiology clinic.

Design: Cross sectional study. Setting: Participants were recruited from an

urban cardiology clinic.

Participants: Data are presented for 1003 patients screened between June 2005 and November 2007. The ethnic groups represent- ed were Hispanics (504 patients or 50% of the sample), Southeast Asians (229 patients or 23%), Caucasians (114 patients or 11%), East Asians (89 patients or 9%), Africans (53 patients or 5%), and 14 patients (2%) of unknown or other ethic backgrounds.

Main Outcome Measures: All patients regis- tered for an outpatient visit received question- naires, in English or Spanish, screening for depression (Patient Health Questionnaire [PHQ-9]) and distress (the Impact of Events Scale [IES]).

Results: Overall, significantly more patients screened positive for distress than depression (33% vs 27%, X25130.11, P5.00). The AN- OVA comparing PHQ scores by ethnic group was significant, F(4, 867)54.46, P5.01 with Hispanics and Southeast Asians scoring signifi- cantly higher than East Asians. An ANOVA comparing IES scores by ethnic group was also significant, F(4, 760)53.63, P5.01.with South- east Asians scoring significantly higher than Caucasians.

Conclusions: Elevated levels of psychiatric symptoms are common across ethnic groups in medical settings, particularly in patients of Hispanic and Southeast Asian origin. Devising culturally sensitive procedures is imperative to successful screening and evaluation.

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