Social Support and Psychological Distress in Primary Care AttendersGrassi L.a · Rasconi G.b · Pedriali A.a · Corridoni A.b · Bevilacqua M.b
aDepartment of Medical Sciences of Communication and Behavior, Section of Psychiatry, the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatric Service, University of Ferrara, and bPrimary Care Local Health Unit, Ferrara, and Italian Society of General Medicine (SIMG), Section of Ferrara, Italy
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Background: Growing evidence has been collected about the high prevalence of psychological distress in primary care. The role of psychosocial variables, namely the role of support from the patients’ interpersonal ties, has not been extensively explored. Methods: The study investigated the relationship between perceived social support, as evaluated by the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and psychological distress, as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory, in 1,341 primary care attenders. Results: In comparison with highly supported patients, lowly supported subjects showed higher scores on distress dimensions (e.g. depression, anxiety, phobia) and a higher prevalence of psychological morbidity (‘caseness’ = 37.3 vs. 11%). Conclusion: The findings suggest that, in the setting of primary care, the GPs’ assessment of their patients’ social support system may be useful in identifying those more vulnerable to psychological stress.
© 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel
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