Depression diagnosis and treatment amongst multimorbid patients: A thematic analysis

Melinda N. Stanners, Christopher A. Barton, Sepehr Shakib, Helen R. Winefield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: We explored experiences of depression diagnosis and treatment amongst multimorbid patients referred to a metropolitan multidisciplinary outpatient clinic to identify commonalities across this patient group. Methods. Patients with two or more chronic conditions and a diagnosis of depression participated in semi-structured interviews that were digitally recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was performed on the transcriptions. Results: Multimorbid patients attributed depressive symptoms to the loss of 'normal' roles and functionality and struggled to reconcile the depression diagnosis with their sense of identity. Beliefs about themselves and depression affected their receptivity to diagnosis and intervention strategies. These included prescribed interventions, such as psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy, and patient-developed strategies. Conclusions: Functional and social role losses present a clear context in which GPs should raise the subject of mood, with the situational attribution of depression suggesting that psychotherapy, which is rarely offered, should be prioritised in these circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
JournalBMC Family Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic illness and disease
  • Depression
  • Multimorbidity
  • Patient experiences
  • Qualitative interviews


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