The assessment of patients' distress in genito-urinary medicine clinics.
Fitzpatrick R., Ikkos G., Frost D., Nazeer S.
A sample of patients attending the clinic of a Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine in London completed The General Health Questionnaire, The Illness Behaviour Questionnaire and The Illness Concern Questionnaire. The doctor whom they consulted was also asked to complete rating scales regarding each patient's level of psychological disturbance. Thirty-eight percent of patients scored highly on the GHQ, indicating possible psychological disturbance. However, only one in five of such 'cases' were also rated by the doctor as possibly psychologically disturbed. A number of social variables are examined that may facilitate or limit the communication of psychological distress. No evidence of labelling of deviant groups is found. However, both the sample in general and specific sub-groups in particular scored highly on scales of hypochondriasis and distress in relation to health and such characteristics appeared relevant to doctors' judgements of patients' psychological states.