Open Access Research article

Impact of demographic factors on recognition of persons with depression and anxiety in primary care in Slovenia

Janez Rifel1*, Igor Švab1, Marija Petek Šter1, Danica Rotar Pavlič1, Michael King2 and Irwin Nazareth3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of family medicine, Medical faculty, University in Ljubljana, Slovenia

2 Department of Mental Health Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, Hampstead Campus, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF, UK

3 General Practice Research Framework, University College London, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF, UK

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BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:96  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-96

Published: 24 December 2008



Research has repeatedly shown that family physicians fail to diagnose up to 70% of patients with common mental disorders. Objective of the study is to investigate associations between persons' gender, age and educational level and detection of depression and anxiety by their family physicians.


We compared the results of two independent observational studies that were performed at the same time on a representative sample of family medicine practice attendees in Slovenia. 10710 patients participated in Slovenian Cross-sectional survey and 1118 patients participated in a first round of a cohort study (PREDICT-D study). Logistic regression was used to examine the effects of age, gender and educational level on detection of depression and anxiety.


The prevalence of major depression and Other Anxiety Syndrome (OAS) amongst family practice attendees was low. The prevalence of Panic Syndrome (PS) was comparable to rates reported in the literature. A statistical model with merged data from both studies showed that it was over 15 times more likely for patients with ICD-10 criteria depression to be detected in PREDICT-D study as in SCS survey. In PREDICT-D study it was more likely for people with higher education to be diagnosed with ICD-10 criteria depression than in SCS survey.


People with higher levels of education should probably be interviewed in a more standardized way to be recognised as having depression by Slovenian family physicians. This finding requires further validation.