Variables Associated With General Practitioners' Knowledge About and Diagnostic Skills for Schizophrenia

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Objective: This study investigated the level of knowledge about schizophrenia of primary care doctors working in the city of Brescia, Italy, and variables associated with better information.

Method: The study design was devised after 2 joint meetings with leading figures of the Italian College of General Practitioners. A cross-sectional evaluation of 215 general practitioners was performed (June 2002). A random subgroup was selected to participate in a 4-month retest session in order to evaluate the reliability of the schedule (October 2002). The setting was the local health unit of Brescia, which involves 706 primary care doctors working in the city and its province. Of these, 30.5% took part in the study. A structured self-report questionnaire (SAKS) was devised for this study. General practitioners were also asked to rate videotaped cases of 5 patients with different DSM-IV diagnoses. The main outcome measures were the scores from subscales measuring knowledge of schizophrenia symptoms and signs, knowledge of antipsychotics and their adverse events, and correct diagnoses of 5 videotaped cases.

Results: Primary care doctors identified positive (79.0%), negative (72.6%) and general (72.1%) symptoms of schizophrenia (p

Conclusion: More teaching on the diagnosis of schizophrenia and clinical psychopharmacology should be given to general practitioners.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2006;8(4):192-197