Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 9–15

The prevalence of mental disorders in rural office practice

  • John T. Philbrick
  • Julia E. Connelly
  • Amy B. Wofford
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF02603478

Cite this article as:
Philbrick, J.T., Connelly, J.E. & Wofford, A.B. J Gen Intern Med (1996) 11: 9. doi:10.1007/BF02603478


OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of mental disorders in rural primary care office practice.

DESIGN: Patient interview; chart review. SETTING: Two rural primary care office practices.

PATIENTS: Three hundred-fifty scheduled or walk-in patients age 18 years or older.

MEASUREMENTS: Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (MOS SF-36), the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (PRIME-MD), physical health using Greenfield’s index of coexistent disease (ICED), and health care utilization using the number of office visits and total office and laboratory charges six months before until six months after the interview.

RESULTS: Of these patients 34% met criteria for one or more of the 18 mental disorders evaluated by the PRIME-MD; 19% met criteria for specific disorders according to criteria from theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition (DSM-III-R). Mood disorders were most common (21.7%), followed by anxiety disorders (12.3%), somatoform disorders (11.1%), probable alcohol abuse or dependence (6.0%), and eating disorders (2.0%). By logistic regression, there was an association of age, sex, race (black), and education with lower prevalence of various mental disorder categories. Even after adjustment for demographic variables and physical health (ICED score), those with PRIME-MD diagnoses had significantly lower function as measured by the eight MOS SF-36 scales and higher utilization of office services (p<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of mental disorders in rural primary care office practice is as high as in urban office practice.

Key words

Mental disorders primary health care rural population health status psychiatric status rating scales 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • John T. Philbrick
    • 1
  • Julia E. Connelly
  • Amy B. Wofford
  1. 1.University of Virginia Health Sciences CenterCharlottesville

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