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International Journal on Disability and Human Development

Official journal of the the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Israel

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board Member: Brooks, Tony / Carmeli, BPT, Eliezer / Caron, MPH, Rosemary M. / Davidson, Philip W / Galil, Ahron / Heller, Tamar / Huff, Marlene B. / Janicki, Matthew P. / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Lindström, Bengt / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / Postolache, Teodor T. / Prasher, Vee / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Stratakis, Constantine A

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.210
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.280
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.247

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Health service utilization in patients with major depressive disorder experiencing significant somatic symptoms in Korea

Jong-Min Woo1, 2 / Joo-Eon Park3 / Sang-Keun Chung4 / Jin-Pyo Hong5 / Eui-Jung Kim6 / Sang-Yeol Lee7 / Kang-Seob Oh8 / Won Kim1, 2 / Seong Kyeon Lim1, 2 / Eun-Ho Kang9 / Bum-Hee Yu9

1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Paik Hospital, Inje University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

2Stress Research Institute, Inje University, Seoul, Korea

3Department of Psychiatry, Keyo Hospital, Uiwang-Si, Korea

4Department of Psychiatry, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea

5Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Ulsan University, Seoul, Korea

6Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Ewha Woman's University, Seoul, Korea

7Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea

8Department of Psychiatry, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, Korea

9Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Corresponding author: Bum-Hee Yu, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Ilwon-Dong 50, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul 135-710, Korea Phone: +82-2-3410-3583, Fax: +82-2-3410-6957,

Citation Information: International Journal on Disability and Human Development. Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 23–28, ISSN (Online) 2191-0367, ISSN (Print) 2191-1231, DOI: 10.1515/IJDHD.2010.004, November 2010

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Background: This study investigated the patterns of health service utilization among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and significant somatic symptoms, who visited psychiatrists in a tertiary care setting.

Methods: A total of 211 patients (51 males and 160 females) were recruited from a convenience sampling and assessed for severity of depressive and somatic symptoms. A structured questionnaire was employed to assess their pattern of healthcare service utilization, specifically, type of treatment first sought, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and time from onset of depressive symptoms to first treatment.

Results: MDD patients with significant somatic symptoms tended to visit a non-psychiatrist physician first. Those with milder somatic symptoms who first visited non-physician practitioners spent a significantly greater amount on out-of-pocket medical expenses than did those who first visited physicians to get treatment. The patients with chief complaints of psychological and emotional symptoms were more likely to visit a psychiatrist first; however, a longer time interval lapsed before these patients received treatment.

Conclusions: Patients with MDD experiencing significant symptoms are unlikely to access appropriate services in a timely manner. The results have implications for improving health care delivery for this population.

Keywords: health service utilization; Korea; major depressive disorder; psychiatry; somatic symptom

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