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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Do general practitioners and psychiatrists agree about defining cure from depression? The DEsCRIBE™ survey

Koen Demyttenaere*, Marc Ansseau, Eric Constant, Adelin Albert, Geert Van Gassen and Kees van Heeringen

BMC Psychiatry 2011, 11:169  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-11-169

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Clinicians' views are important: this study adds to understanding - but the measure of their attitudes should be correctly named.

Mark Haddad   (2011-11-26 16:48)  Institute of Psychiatry at King email

Demyttenaere and colleagues' study of the views of GPs and psychiatrists about depression addresses an important topic, and extends our understanding of the elements of outcome that are considered important by clinicians as well as the relationships between their attitudes and aspects of clinical practice.

This paper rightly seeks to unravel some of the complexity of what comprises depression and what is important in defining recovery from this condition.

The authors appropriately recognise that the patient's perspective is a most important aspect of such enquiry - which is missing from this study. They correctly identify other potential weaknesses in their study; but although they note some of the inconsistencies in the results of previous factor analyses of the DAQ attitude measure, they do not consider that this may indicate weaknesses in this measure - and consequent limitations in using findings derived from its item and factor scores.

An allied problem in this paper is the auhors' repeated use of the title 'Depression Attitude Scale (DAS)' to refer to the attitude measure that they have used. The measure is the Depression Attitude Questionnaire (DAQ) - which has been used in more than twenty other studies. Using a (albeit slightly) different name and acronym presents problems for other researchers and readers in linking this research to other studies in the field, and to related searches of this topic.

Competing interests

Mark Haddad has used the Depression Attitude Questionnaire (DAQ) in several research studies; and is currently undertaking a revision of the original measure.

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