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Variation in Psychometric Testing in General Practice - A Nationwide Cohort Study

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OBJECTIVE: Most mental disorders are diagnosed and treated in general practice. Psychometric tests may help the general practitioner diagnose and treat mental disorders like dementia, anxiety, and depression. However, little is known about the use of psychometric tests in general practice and their impact on further treatment. We aimed to assess the use of psychometric tests in Danish general practice and to estimate whether variation in use is associated with the provided treatment and death by suicide in patients.

METHODS: This nationwide cohort study included registry data on all psychometric tests performed in Danish general practice in 2007-2018. We used Poisson regression models adjusted for sex, age, and calendar time to assess predictors of use. We used fully adjusted models to estimate the standardized utilization rates for all general practices.

RESULTS: A total of 2,768,893 psychometric tests were used in the study period. Considerable variations were observed among general practices. A positive association was seen between a general practitioner's propensity to use psychometric testing and talk therapy. Patients listed with a general practitioner with low use had an increased rate of redeemed prescriptions for anxiolytics [incidence rate ratio (95% confidence interval):1.39 (1.23;1.57)]. General practitioners with high use had an increased rate of prescriptions for antidementia drugs [1.25 (1.05;1.49)] and first-time antidepressants [1.09 (1.01;1.19)]. High test use was seen for females [1.58 (1.55; 1.62)] and patients with comorbid diseases. Low use was seen for populations with high income [0.49 (0.47; 0.51)] and high educational level [0.78 (0.75; 0.81)].

CONCLUSION: Psychometric tests were used mostly for women, individuals with a low socioeconomic status, and individuals with comorbid conditions. The use of psychometric tests depends on general practice and is associated with talk therapy, redemptions for anxiolytics, antidementia drugs, and antidepressants. No association was found between general practice rates and other treatment outcomes.

TidsskriftClinical epidemiology
Sider (fra-til)391-405
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2023

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© 2023 Schou Pedersen et al.

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