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Ability of Primary Care Physicians to Make Accurate Ratings of Psychiatric Symptoms

David Goldberg, DM; Jane J. Steele, MSW; Alan Johnson, PhD; Charles Smith, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(7):829-833. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290070059011.
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• The ability of 45 family practice residents to make accurate ratings of psychiatric symptoms among their patients was assessed by comparing their ratings with the symptom levels of their patients as reported on a psychiatric screening questionnaire. The findings confirmed an earlier survey with experienced primary care physicians by showing that ability to make accurate ratings is partly determined by interview style, and partly by certain personality attributes. Self-confident, outgoing physicians with high academic ability tend to make more accurate assessments, as do those who display certain specified behaviors during their diagnostic interviews. The tendency to make many, or to avoid making psychiatric assessments ("bias") is shown to be determined by different factors from those that determine accuracy of the assessments.


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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