Anxiety and depression in Chinese patients attending an Australian GP clinic

George Wen Gin Tang, Sarah Dennis, Elizabeth Comino, Nicholas Zwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Incidence of depression among Chinese people living in traditional Asian regions is low. Recent Chinese immigrants to Australia may be at greater risk of depression and anxiety because of issues related to integration into Australian society. General practitioners are often the first point of contact for people with anxiety and depression. Patients from a Chinese background may be reluctant to discuss their mental health problems with their GP. Methods: A cross sectional survey was undertaken of Chinese patients 18 years of age and over attending a general practice in southwestern Sydney (New South Wales) during July 2005. Patients were asked to complete the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) and Somatic and Psychological Health Report (SPHERE) depression screening questionnaires, along with a demographic questionnaire. All questionnaires were available in English or Chinese. Results:A total of 161 patients completed the questionnaires. Fifty-five percent (83) of patients had a K10 score that indicated medium or high risk, and 44% (71) had a high SPHERE score (PSYCH-6 and/or SOMA-6). There was an association between increased risk of depression or anxiety and reduced occupational status but not social isolation. Discussion: Half the Chinese patients presenting at this general practice were at high risk of psychological distress (as measured by standard screening instruments). The proportion of patients in this study at risk of psychological distress on screening is more than would be expected in the general Australian population. Though limited by a small sample size and a single general practice location, these findings are of concern and should direct further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-555
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


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