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Towards an understanding of GPs' viewpoint on diagnosing postnatal depression in general practice: a small-scale realist evaluation

Sriranjan, AN; Abrams, R; Wong, G; Park, S; (2020) Towards an understanding of GPs' viewpoint on diagnosing postnatal depression in general practice: a small-scale realist evaluation. Primary Health Care Research & Development , 21 , Article e42. 10.1017/S1463423620000316. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Less than half of postnatal depression cases are identified in routine clinical assessment. Guidelines and current literature suggest that general practitioners (GPs) may have an opportunistic role in detecting postnatal depression due to their early contact and existing rapport with many new mothers. There is limited research on the diagnostic approaches chosen by GPs in different GP-patient contexts. Our small-scale study evaluates the thought processes of seven GPs based in one practice when forming a clinical diagnosis of postnatal depression under different contexts. METHODS: Seven GP participants were interviewed using case vignettes about postnatal depression, based on an adapted Johari's window framework. A realist approach to analysis was undertaken with the intention of understanding GPs' responses to different situations. Context-mechanism-outcome configurations were constructed, and a programme theory was formed to consolidate the findings. FINDINGS: Findings suggest that diagnoses may be a clinician-led or collaborative process between GP and patient. In collaborative contexts, stigmatising views were addressed by GPs, time for self-reflection was encouraged and mothers' views were accounted for. Clinician-led diagnoses often occurred in contexts where there was a lack of acknowledgement of symptoms on behalf of the patient or where safety was a concern. The personal and clinical experience of GPs themselves, as well as effective communication channels with other primary care professionals, was significant mechanisms. CONCLUSION: GPs use a variety of strategies to support patient disclosure and acceptance of their condition. The complexity of GP-patient contexts may influence the clinical thought process. We address some of the gaps in existing literature by exploring postnatal depression diagnosis in primary care and provide tentative explanations to suggest what works, for whom and in what contexts.

Type: Article
Title: Towards an understanding of GPs' viewpoint on diagnosing postnatal depression in general practice: a small-scale realist evaluation
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S1463423620000316
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1463423620000316
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: GP perspective, diagnosis, general practice, postnatal depression, primary care, qualitative, realist evaluation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10114738
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