Treatment adequacy of anxiety and depressive disorders: Primary versus specialised care in Spain

Anna Fernández, Josep Maria Haro, Miquel Codony, Gemma Vilagut, Montserrat Martínez-Alonso, Jaume Autonell, Luis Salvador-Carulla, José Luis Ayuso-Mateos, Miquel Angel Fullana, Jordi Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalShort Survey/Scientific Reportpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Literature suggests that a high proportion of the population with mental disorders remains either untreated or poorly treated. This study aimed to describe the adequacy of treatment for Anxiety and Depressive disorders in Spain, how this differs between providers (primary versus specialised care) and which factors are associated with appropriate care. Method: Data were derived from the Spanish sample (N = 5473) of the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD), a cross sectional study in a representative sample of adults. The subsample analyzed was composed by the 133 subjects with a mental disorder in the year prior to the interview who received treatment. Treatment adequacy was evaluated in two different ways: (1) considering definitions of minimally adequate treatment evidence based guidelines and criteria used in other epidemiological studies; (2) considering experts rating of treatment appropriateness based on the information contained in the case vignettes created from the CIDI answers. Generalised Estimating Equation (GEE) models and simple logistic regression were conducted to assess the correlates of adequate treatment. Results: Similar proportions of patients in specialty and general medical treatment received a minimally adequate treatment (31.8% and 30.5%, respectively). Associated factors to appropriateness were living in a large city, having a high educational level, and having a good self rated health state. Limitations: Treatment adequacy was based on simple information and criteria. Conclusions: Only one third of the mental health treatment in Spain met minimal adequacy criteria. More research is needed in order to find out reasons for these low rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


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