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Bocquier A, Pambrun E, Dumesnil H, Villani P, Verdoux H, Verger P. PLoS One 2013; 8(12): e80797.


INSERM, UMR912 "Economics and Social Sciences Applied to Health & Analysis of Medical Information" (SESSTIM), Marseille, France ; Aix Marseille University, UMR_S912, IRD, Marseille, France ; ORS PACA, Southeastern Health Regional Observatory, Marseille, France.


(Copyright © 2013, Public Library of Science)






BACKGROUND: General practitioners (GPs) have a key role to play in suicide prevention, but the rates at which they question patients with depression about suicidal thoughts and plans are rather low. Little is known about GPs' characteristics associated with such inquiries. Our objectives were to describe GPs' attitudes, perceived barriers, and self-reported practices in this questioning of these patients and to analyze factors associated with these practices. METHODOLOGY: This cross-sectional survey was conducted among participants in a panel of randomly selected French GPs (1249/1431 participated: 87.3%). GPs were interviewed with a standardized questionnaire covering their professional and personal characteristics, attitudes, and practices in exploring the suicide risk of their patients with depression. We built a suicide inquiry score by summing the responses to 5 items and used a multiple linear regression analysis to explore the characteristics associated with this score. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Most GPs reported inquiring about the presence of suicidal ideation often or very often; less than 30% reported that they frequently explored signs of a specific suicide plan. The mean suicide inquiry score was 12.4 (SD, 2.9; range, 5-20). False ideas, such as thinking that patients who report suicidal ideas do not often commit suicide, were frequent (42.3%). Previous continuing medical education on suicide, participation in a formal mental health network, and patients who committed suicide in the past 5 years were associated with a higher score. Reluctance to question patients about suicide and perception of insufficient skill were associated with a lower score. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study showed great variability in French GPs' practices in exploring suicide risk in patients with depression. Interventions aiming at improving GPs' initial training and continuing medical education in suicide and/or depression, and their collaboration with mental health specialists should be developed, and their impacts assessed.

Language: en


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