Assessment of the Factors Associated with Psychiatric Comorbidity in Depression Patients in Primary Health Care in Chile

Objective: Define the clinical and psychosocial factors associated with psychiatric comorbidity in primary health care ( PHC) patients consulted for depression in Chile. Methods: A sociodemographic and clinical interview, a mini-international neuropsychiatric interview (MINI), a childhood trauma incident (CTEs) screening, the intimate partner abuse (IPV) scale, the Life Experiences Survey (LES), and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) were used to test 394 patients with a diagnosis of major depression being treated in a Chilean PHC. Inverse correlations with age were identified at the time of First appointment (r = -0.168), depression onset age (r = -0.320), and medical comorbidity number (r = -0.140). Early age of the first depressive episode, CTE history and recent traumatic life experiences describe 13.6% of the overall variability in psychological comorbidities of all related variables. Conclusions: Early onset of depression, clinical seriousness, chronicity, and interpersonal adversity encountered since childhood are correlated with a greater prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity among subjects seeking treatment for depression in Chilean PHCs. Taking into account that existing clinical recommendations for depression do not yet include a clear indication of identification and care in patients with comorbidities[1], and taking into account that psychiatric recommendations do not provide a reasonable indication of recognition and treatment in those patients with comorbidities[1] In the PHC, comorbidities and associated psychosocial factors are frequently underdiagnosed and not properly treated[2,3], this research offers more evidence on the importance of introducing new methods to identify and adequately manage comorbidities and associated factors in depressed patients who are consulting PHC.

Author (s) Details

Dr. Alfredo Cancino
Medicine School, Universidad de Talca, Talca, Chile and Communal Mental Health Program, Primary Health Care Department, Municipality of Curicó, Curicó, Chile.

Marcelo Leiva-Bianchi
Faculty of Psychology, University of Talca, Talca, Chile.

Carlos Serrano
Faculty of Psychology, University of Talca, Talca, Chile.


Soledad Ballesteros-Teuber
Medicine School, Universidad de Talca, Talca, Chile.

Cristian Cáceres
Faculty of Psychology, University of Talca, Talca, Chile.

Dr. Verónica Vitriol
Medicine School, Universidad de Talca, Talca, Chile and Hospital San Juan de Dios, Curicó, Chile.

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