Depression diagnosis and treatment amongst multimorbid patients: a thematic analysis

Melinda Stanners, Christopher Barton, Sepehr Shakib, Helen Winefield

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    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: We explored experiences of depression diagnosis and treatment amongst multimorbid patients referred to a metropolitan multidisciplinary outpatient clinic to identify commonalities across this patient group. Methods. Patients with two or more chronic conditions and a diagnosis of depression participated in semi-structured interviews that were digitally recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was performed on the transcriptions. Results: Multimorbid patients attributed depressive symptoms to the loss of 'normal' roles and functionality and struggled to reconcile the depression diagnosis with their sense of identity. Beliefs about themselves and depression affected their receptivity to diagnosis and intervention strategies. These included prescribed interventions, such as psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy, and patient-developed strategies. Conclusions: Functional and social role losses present a clear context in which GPs should raise the subject of mood, with the situational attribution of depression suggesting that psychotherapy, which is rarely offered, should be prioritised in these circumstances.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number124
    Number of pages6
    JournalBMC Family Practice
    Issue number124
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2014


    • Chronic illness and disease
    • Depression
    • Multimorbidity
    • Patient experiences
    • Qualitative interviews


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