, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 301-308
Date: 03 Sep 2009

“One end has nothing to do with the other:” Patient attitudes regarding help seeking intention for depression in gynecologic and obstetric settings

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Many women rely on their obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) as their primary contact with the health care delivery system. There have been few studies exploring patient views on getting help for depression from these providers. The purpose of this study is to assess help seeking intention for depression and identify beliefs which moderate this intention. Telephone interviews of women following a routine gynecologic visit or in the immediate postpartum period (regarding prenatal care) were used to assess intention to seek help from their providers in a case of depression. For women who lacked this intention, related beliefs were elicited with the open ended question “why not?” Among the 225 women in the study more than half receiving gynecologic care (59%) and nearly a third of women who received prenatal care (29%; p < 0.001) stated they would not seek help from their OB/GYN for depression. Report that a prenatal provider had mentioned depression was associated with help seeking intention for depression but was not independent of confounding variables. Beliefs among women who lacked help seeking intention clustered into two attitude themes: 1) an OB/GYN is the wrong doctor for depression care and 2) OB/GYN is not a good setting for depression care. Many women have attitudes which reduce their intention to seek help for depression from their OB/GYN. Interventions aiming to increase delivery of depression care in these settings should consider these beliefs in their design.

Sources of Research Financial Support: This research was supported in part by funding from NIMH (5 R01-MH-061992; Coyne). Bennett was supported by grants from the NICHD (1K23HD048915-01A2) and the NIMH (1R03MH074750-01).