Factors related to the prescribing of selected psychotropic drugs by primary care physicians

Ronald S. Hadsall, Robert A. Freeman, G. Joseph Norwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were to investigate the influences of differing physician characteristics and attitudes on the diagnosis of emotional problems, and the prescribing of selected psychotropic and non-psychotropic drugs. The 32 physicians who completed the study recorded 10,585 patient visits, which accounted for 7934 prescribed drugs. Overall, 549 (6.9%) of the drugs prescribed were classified as psychotropic drugs. After controlling for patient characteristics, there was not a statistically significant relationship between board certification, practice size, or physician age and the rate at which study physicians diagnose emotional problems. Board certification, physician age, physician propensity to prescribe drug therapy, and the feeling that patients expect drug therapy were significantly related to the prescribing of non-psychotropic drugs. Unlike the prescribing of non-psychotropic drugs, the prescribing of psychotropic drugs was not predictable. Only the propensity to prescribe drug therapy was significantly related to the rate at which physicians prescribed psychotropic drugs for their patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1747-1756
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1982


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