• Presentation

Physician communication about psychosocial issues during postpartum visits

Citation

Sleath, B., Thomas, N., Jackson, E., West, S., & Gaynes, B. N. (2005, December). Physician communication about psychosocial issues during postpartum visits. Presented at American Public Health Association, 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition, Philadelphia, PA, December 13, 2005, .

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of the study was to examine: (1) the extent to which obstetricians/gynecologists and family physicians report discussing depression and other psychosocial issues during postpartum visits, and (2) how physician specialty and gender are related to whether physicians report discussing depression and other psychosocial issues with patients during postpartum visits. Methods: The survey was sent to a random sample of 600 obstetricians/gynecologists and 600 family practitioners. Results: The overall response rate was 42 percent. Forty-six percent of the responding physicians reported that they had seen women for postpartum visits during the past three months. Only 43% of physicians were almost certain to ask about the woman feeling down, depressed, or hopeless and just 27% were almost certain to ask about the woman's interest in her usual activities. Twenty percent of physicians were almost certain to ask the woman about her relationship with her partner and 16% of physicians were almost certain to ask the woman about her social support network. Seventy-nine percent of physicians stated that they were unlikely to use a formal screen for depression. Female physicians were significantly more likely to ask about a woman's social support network than male physicians. Family practitioners were significantly more likely to ask about a woman's social support network and the woman's relationship with her partner and they were more likely to use a formal depression screen than obstetricians/gynecologists. Conclusions: Communication about psychosocial issues during postpartum visits could be improved