Dermatologists across Europe underestimate depression and anxiety: results from 3635 dermatological consultations.

F J Dalgard, A Svensson, Uwe Gieler, Lucia Tomas-Aragones, Lars Lien, Francoise Poot, Gregor B.E. Jemec, Laurent Misery, Csanád Szabó, Dennis Linder, Francesca Sampogna, A W M Evers, Jon Anders Halvorsen, Flora Balieva, Jacek C. Szepietowski, A Lvov, SE Marron, IK Alturnay, Andrew Y. Finlay, Mir-Saeed Shayegan SalekJoerg Kupfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It was recently demonstrated that a significant number of patients with common skin diseases across Europe are clinically depressed and anxious. Studies have shown that physicians not trained as psychiatrists underdiagnose depression. This has not been explored among dermatologists. Objectives: To estimate the concordance between clinical assessment of depression and anxiety by a dermatologist and assessment with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Methods: The study was an observational cross-sectional multicentre study of prevalent cases of skin diseases in 13 countries in Europe. Consecutive patients were recruited in outpatient clinics and filled in questionnaires prior to clinical examination by a dermatologist who reported any diagnosis of skin disease and signs of mood disorders. Results: Analysis of the 3635 consultations showed that the agreement between dermatologist and HADS was poor to fair (lower than 0·4) for all diagnosis categories. The true-positive rate (represented by the percentage of dermatologists recognizing signs of depression or anxiety in patients with depression or anxiety as defined by a HADS value ≥ 11) was 44·0% for depression and 35·6% for anxiety. The true negative rate (represented by the percentage of dermatologists not detecting signs of depression or anxiety in non-depressed or non-anxious patients defined by HADS-value < 11) was 88.8% for depression and 85.7% for anxiety. Conclusions: Dermatologists in Europe tend to underestimate mood disorders. The results suggest that further training for dermatologists to improve their skills in diagnosing depression and anxiety might be appropriate. When present, the psychological suffering of patients with dermatological conditions needs to be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-470
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number2
Early online date16 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


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