A comparison of the symptoms of medical and psychiatric patients matched on the Beck Depression Inventory

Carol Ann Emmons, John H. Fetting, Alan B. Zonderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The goals of this study were to examine, in greater detail, the experience of depression in the medically ill, and to compare their experience with that of depressed psychiatric patients. Medical and psychiatric inpatients were matched in terms of total scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). In addition to the BDI, all patients completed a self-report symptom battery. No difference was found between the two groups in terms of total BDI scores, but psychiatric patients scored significantly higher on the affective BDI items, and medical patients scored significantly higher on the somatic BDI items. Discriminant analysis was used to compare their responses to the symptom battery. Depression in the psychiatric patients was characterized primarily by suicidal ideation and loss of interest, whereas in medical patients a lack of energy and worry were the predominant symptoms. The implications of these findings for assessing depression in the medically ill are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-404
Number of pages7
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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