Depression literacy among patients and the public: A literature review

Adel Gabriel, Claudio Violato

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: To conduct a literature review of patient- and population-based research on depression literacy and determine the implications of the findings for patient psycho-education. Method: The authors searched PubMed for articles published between January 1995 and January 2007; they chose English-language articles of studies based on samples drawn from the general population as well as clinical studies conducted in North America, Australia, and European countries. Results: A total of 48 published papers in referred journals (two review articles and 46 original research papers) met inclusion criteria. Most studies examined the public's knowledge and attitudes towards treatment of depression. To examine the ability of participants to recognize clinical depressive symptoms and attitudes towards depression and its treatment, researchers commonly used vignettes involving survey methods based on community samples. Depression literacy is generally poor among the general public and patients alike. Public opinion clearly favors the lay support system of all healthcare professionals; family physicians were identified as the preferred point of first contact. The authors found that poor knowledge of and negative attitudes towards depression influence negatively the choice of treatments and help-seeking behavior. Conclusion: There is widespread misunderstanding of the nature of depression and its causes; attitudes towards treatment are negative. More research is needed to investigate those of high-risk patient groups as well as the need for psycho-education campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalPrimary Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'Depression literacy among patients and the public: A literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this