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July 1982

Ability of Primary Care Physicians to Make Accurate Ratings of Psychiatric Symptoms

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Manchester, England (Dr Goldberg); the Departments of Psychiatry (Ms Steele and Dr Smith) and Family Medicine (Dr Johnson), Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(7):829-833. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290070059011

• The ability of 45 family practice residents to make accurate ratings of psychiatric symptoms among their patients was assessed by comparing their ratings with the symptom levels of their patients as reported on a psychiatric screening questionnaire. The findings confirmed an earlier survey with experienced primary care physicians by showing that ability to make accurate ratings is partly determined by interview style, and partly by certain personality attributes. Self-confident, outgoing physicians with high academic ability tend to make more accurate assessments, as do those who display certain specified behaviors during their diagnostic interviews. The tendency to make many, or to avoid making psychiatric assessments ("bias") is shown to be determined by different factors from those that determine accuracy of the assessments.