Beliefs and attitudes associated with the intention to not accept the diagnosis of depression among young adults

Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, Joshua Fogel, Thomas K. Houston, Lisa A. Cooper, Nae Yub Wang, Dhaniel E. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

PURPOSE: Negative attitudes and beliefs about depression treatment may prevent many young adults from accepting a diagnosis and treatment for depression. We undertook a study to determine the association between depressive symptom severity, beliefs about and attitudes toward treatment, subjective social norms, and past behavior on the intent not to accept a physician's diagnosis of depression. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 10,962 persons aged 16 to 29 years who participated and had positive screening results on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) score in an Internet-based public health depression screening program. Participants reported whether they would accept their physician's diagnosis of depression. Based on the theory of reasoned action, we developed a multivariate model of the factors that predict intent not to accept a diagnosis of depression. RESULTS: Twenty-six percent of the participants stated their intent not to accept their physician's diagnosis of depression. Disagreeing that medications are effective in treating depression (strongly disagree, odds ratio (OR) = 6.5, 95% confidence interval (CI), 4.6-9.3), that there is a biological cause for depression (strongly disagree, OR = 1.9, 95% CI, 1.3-2.7), and agreeing that you would be embarrassed if your friends knew you had depression were associated with the intent not to accept a diagnosis of depression (strongly agree, OR = 2.3, 95% CI, 1.8-2.9). Beliefs and attitudes, subjective social norms, and past behavior explained most of the variance in this model (84%). CONCLUSIONS: Negative beliefs and attitudes, subjective social norms, and lack of past helpful treatment experiences are associated with the intent to not accept the diagnosis of depression and may contribute to low rates of treatment among young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2005

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude
  • Depression/therapy
  • Stereotyping
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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