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Use of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) in Practice: Interactions between patients and physicians

Ford, J., Thomas, F., Byng, R. and McCabe, R. ORCID: 0000-0003-2041-7383 (2020). Use of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) in Practice: Interactions between patients and physicians. Qualitative Health Research, doi: 10.1177/1049732320924625

Abstract

We analyze the use of nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), an instrument that is widely used in diagnosing and determining the severity of depression. Using conversation analysis, we show how the doctor deploys the PHQ-9 in response to the patient's doubts about whether she is depressed. Rather than relaying the PHQ-9 verbatim, the doctor deviates from the wording so that the response options are selectively offered to upgrade the severity of the patient's symptoms. This works in favor of a positive diagnosis and is used to justify a treatment recommendation that the patient previously resisted. This contrasted with the rest of the data set, where diagnosis was either not delivered (as patients are presenting with ongoing problems) or delivered without using the PHQ-9. When clinician-administered, the PHQ-9 can be influenced by how response items are presented. This can lead to either downgrading or upgrading the severity of depression.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Ford, J., Thomas, F., Byng, R. and McCabe, R. (2020). Use of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) in Practice: Interactions between patients and physicians. Qualitative Health Research. Copyright © 2020, the authors. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732320924625
Publisher Keywords: mental health and illness, primary, health care, depression, mental health and illness, qualitative, conversation analysis, United Kingdom
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2020 13:14
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/24470
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