Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 50, Issue 7, pp 753–758 | Cite as

Screening for Depression and High Utilization of Health Care Resources Among Patients in Primary Care

  • Anne BerghöferEmail author
  • Stephanie Roll
  • Michael Bauer
  • Stefan N. Willich
  • Andrea Pfennig
Original Paper


The study aims to evaluate the prevalence of depression and the severity of depressive symptoms among primary care patients, who are high utilizers (HU) of health care resources. A cross-sectional, two-stage design was applied to screen for depression using the Brief Psychiatric Health Questionnaire and the Diagnostic Expert System for Psychiatric Disorders. A total of 38 primary care physicians accredited to practice in Berlin and Potsdam in Germany participated in the study. A total of 1,775 patients participated, 507 were identified as HU, 182 (36 %) of these were depressed compared to 81 (11 %) of the typical utilizers (p < 0.001). The depression score was higher and acute suicidality was more prevalent in HU than in typical utilizers (p < 0.001). Our results suggest that HU represent a population with a high prevalence of depression in primary care and should be considered for routine depression screening.


Primary care Depression Screening High utilizer B-PHQ 



The study was supported by Pfizer GmbH, Karlsruhe, by a limited grant.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Berghöfer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephanie Roll
    • 1
  • Michael Bauer
    • 2
  • Stefan N. Willich
    • 1
  • Andrea Pfennig
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health EconomicsCharité University Medical CenterBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Carl Gustav Carus University HospitalTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

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