Conceptual models of psychological distress among low-income patients in an inner-city primary care clinic

Alison Karasz, Galit Sacajiu, Nerina Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Although depression and anxiety syndromes are common in primary care, many depressed and anxious patients fail to receive effective treatment. Little attention has been given to the role of illness beliefs in shaping these patients' treatment preferences and decisions. Using semistructured interviews, this study examined conceptual models of depressive symptoms among patients in an inner-city clinic. A theoretical taxonomy of patients' conceptual models of distress was developed: each category was associated with a unique pattern of treatment preferences. We conclude that patients' models of distress may play an important role in treatment-seeking decisions, and deserve further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-477
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2003



  • Depression
  • Illness beliefs
  • Illness representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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