Conceptual models of treatment in depressed Hispanic patients

Alison Karasz, Liza Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Though patient variables are likely to play an important role in the undertreatment of depression, little is known of patients' perceptions of standard depression treatments. In an effort to understand their perspective, we investigated depressed Hispanic patients' perceptions of primary care treatments and the specific benefits associated with them. METHODS: We undertook semistructured interviews with 121 depressed Hispanic medical patients waiting for their appointments. We developed and implemented a coding scheme using standard iterative procedures. RESULTS: More than one half of the patients viewed physician consultation and medication as helpful. Almost all patients considered psychotherapy to be helpful. Supportive talk was the most commonly mentioned specific benefit of physician consultation. The most common benefit of medication was its anxiolytic, sedative effect; energizing effects were less common. The most common benefits associated with psychotherapy included support, advice, and catharsis. Patients currently taking medication for depression had a more favorable view of pharmacological treatment; differences by language of interview were noted. CONCLUSIONS: Patients' perceptions of the specific efficacies of depression treatment did not match priorities implicit in current treatment guidelines. Such perceptions may play a key role in shaping patients' decisions to initiate and maintain treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-533
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Antidepressants
  • Conceptual models
  • Depression
  • Ethnic groups
  • Mental health
  • Physician-patient relations
  • Primary care
  • Psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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