Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 7, July 2009

Anxiety and depression in Chinese patients attending an Australian GP clinic

Nicholas A Zwar Sarah M Dennis George Wen-Gin Tang Elizabeth Comino
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Incidence of depression among Chinese people living in traditional Asian regions is low. Recent Chinese immigrants to Australia may be at greater risk of depression and anxiety because of issues related to integration into Australian society. General practitioners are often the first point of contact for people with anxiety and depression. Patients from a Chinese background may be reluctant to discuss their mental health problems with their GP.
Half the Chinese patients presenting at this general practice were at high risk of psychological distress (as measured by standard screening instruments). The proportion of patients in this study at risk of psychological distress on screening is more than would be expected in the general Australian population. Though limited by a small sample size and a single general practice location, these findings are of concern and should direct further research.
A total of 161 patients completed the questionnaires. Fifty-five percent (83) of patients had a K10 score that indicated medium or high risk, and 44% (71) had a high SPHERE score (PSYCH-6 and/or SOMA-6). There was an association between increased risk of depression or anxiety and reduced occupational status but not social isolation.

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