Conceptual models of depression in primary care patients: A comparative study

Alison Karasz, Nerina Garcia, Lucia Ferri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Conventional psychiatric treatment models are based on a biopsychiatric model of depression. A plausible explanation for low rates of depression treatment utilization among ethnic minorities and the poor is that members of these communities do not share the cultural assumptions underlying the biopsychiatric model. The study examined conceptual models of depression among depressed patients from various ethnic groups, focusing on the degree to which patients' conceptual models "matched" a biopsychiatric model of depression. The sample included 74 primary care patients from three ethnic groups screening positive for depression. The authors administered qualitative interviews assessing patients' conceptual representations of depression. The analysis proceeded in two phases. The first phase involved a strategy called "quantitizing" the qualitative data. A rating scheme was developed and applied to the data by a rater blind to study hypotheses. The data were subjected to statistical analyses. The second phase of the analysis involved the analysis of thematic data using standard qualitative techniques. Study hypotheses were largely supported. The qualitative analysis provided a detailed picture of primary care patients' conceptual models of depression and suggested interesting directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1059
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Conceptual models
  • Depression
  • Explanatory models
  • Illness representation
  • Mixed methods
  • Primary care
  • Qualitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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