Prevalence of depressive symptoms among established vietnamese refugees in the united states - Detection in a primary care setting

Dedra Buchwald, Spero M. Manson, Norman G. Dinges, Ellen M. Keane, J. David Kinzie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Scopus citations


    Objective: To determine the prevalence of depressive symptoms among Vietnamese refugees who have lived in the United States for at least two months. Design: A prospective and descriptive study using the Vietnamese Depression Scale (VDS). Scores of ≥ 13 on the VDS were considered indicative of depression. Setting: Ten public health clinics in four states. Patients/participants: Four hundred seventy-six consecutive adult Vietnamese refugees presenting for primary care. Interventions: The VDS, an 18-item culture-specific self-report measure, was used to screen for depressive symptoms. Measurements and main results: Twenty percent of these patients had scores of 13 or above. Although being female; being older; being divorced, separated, or widowed; and being poorly educated were significant univariate risk factors for screening positive, only the latter two were significant in a multivariate model. Physical complaints were common and induced considerable anxiety about health status, but psychological and emotional symptoms were even more prevalent. Patients scoring 13 or higher had a higher rate of endorsement for every item in the scale than did those scoring lower than 13. Conclusions: This study substantiates the feasibility and importance of screening for depressive symptoms among Vietnamese refugees, particularly in primary care settings where they are most likely to seek care for both medical and psychological problems.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)76-81
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of general internal medicine
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Feb 1993


    • Vietnamese
    • depression
    • prediction
    • primary care
    • refugees
    • screening

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Internal Medicine


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