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Symptoms of Depression in a Hispanic Primary Care Population With and Without Chronic Medical Illnesses

Jenny Chong, PhD; Kerstin M. Reinschmidt, PhD, MPH; and Francisco A. Moreno, MD

Published: June 10, 2010

Article Abstract

Objective: To describe somatic and psychiatric symptoms reported by Hispanic primary care patients with and without depression and/or chronic medical illnesses.

Method: Adult Hispanic patients (n = 104) in a Mobile Health Program in underserved southern Arizona participated in a survey conducted between September 2006 and February 2007 to obtain information about the somatic and psychiatric symptoms that they were experiencing. They were asked to rate the severity of their symptoms listed in the depression screen Personal Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R), and 5 new symptoms described by patients in focus groups conducted in the first phase of the project. Patients were categorized as depressed if their PHQ-9 scores were 10 or above, and they were further categorized as having or not having chronic illnesses based on self-report. Analyses of variance were conducted for each SCL-90-R symptom dimension to compare across the 4 groups (group 1: not depressed and not medically ill; group 2: medically ill but not depressed; group 3: depressed but not medically ill; and group 4: depressed and medically ill).

Results: Patients with chronic medical illnesses comorbid with depression were found to report significantly more somatic symptoms than those with only chronic medical illnesses or depression alone (P .001). They also reported significantly more psychopathology than patients with depression alone (P .05 or better).

Conclusions: Patients with medical illnesses comorbid with depression are more likely to exhibit psychopathology than patients with medical illnesses or depression alone.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(3):e1-e9

Submitted: May 29, 2009; accepted August 14, 2009.

Published online: June 10, 2010 (doi:10.4088/PCC.09m00846blu).

Corresponding author: Jenny Chong, PhD, University of Arizona, 1501 N Campbell, Tucson, AZ 85724-5023 (

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