Effectiveness of problem-solving treatment by general practice registrars for patients with emotional symptoms
SourceJournal of Primary Health Care, 3, 3, (2011), pp. 181-9
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
Journal of Primary Health Care
SubjectNCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health
INTRODUCTION: In general practice many patients present with emotional symptoms. Both patients and physicians desire effective non-pharmacological treatments. AIM: To study the effectiveness of problem-solving treatment (PST) delivered by trained general practice registrars (GP registrars) for patients with emotional symptoms. METHODS: In a controlled clinical trial we compared the effectiveness of PST versus usual care for patients with emotional symptoms. Dutch GP registrars provided either PST or usual care, according to their own preference. Patients were included if they (a) had presented for three or more consultations with emotional symptoms in the past six months; and (b) scored four or more on the 12-item General Health Questionnaire. Outcomes at three- and nine-month follow-up were standard measures of depression, anxiety and quality of life. RESULTS: Thirty-eight GP registrars provided PST and included 98 patients; 43 provided usual care and included 104 patients. PST patients improved significantly more than usual care patients: at nine-month follow-up, recovery rates for somatoform disorder and anxiety were higher in the PST group (OR 6.50, p=0.01 respectively OR 11.25, p=0.03). PST patients had improved significantly more on the domains social functioning, role limitation due to emotional problems and general health perception. DISCUSSION: Patients with emotional symptoms improved significantly more after PST delivered by motivated GP registrars than after usual care by GP registrars. Further research, with randomisation of interested registrars or interested GPs, is needed.
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