To the Editor.—
In two studies published this spring in major American psychiatric journals, the authors concluded that more than half of the female physicians in the United States suffer from "primary affective disorders" (PADs).1.2 There are serious methodological and logical flaws in both studies. In the study by Welner et al,1 the Feighner criteria, which were originally developed and validated on patients who were referred to psychiatric treatment facilities or on patients who were involuntarily committed, were used to screen female physicians and women with doctorates living and working in the community. Fifty-seven percent of the female physicians and 32% of the women with doctorates were judged by the interviewers to meet the Feighner criteria for PAD.Numerous studies have shown that depressive symptomatology in the general population is widespread and is closely associated with a number of variables (including sex, age, occupation, and socioeconomic class) and
Stevens JR, Shore J. Female Physicians and Primary Affective Disorderppp. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(1):110–111. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780140112014
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