Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/89827
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Type: Journal article
Title: How do palliative medicine specialists conceptualize depression? Findings from a qualitative in-depth interview study
Author: Ng, F.
Crawford, G.
Chur-Hansen, A.
Citation: Journal of Palliative Medicine, 2014; 17(3):318-324
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 1096-6218
1557-7740
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Ng Felicity, Crawford Gregory B. and Chur-Hansen Anna
Abstract: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Different professional conceptualizations of depression may complicate the clinical approach to depression in the palliative care setting. This study aimed to explore and characterize how palliative medicine specialists conceptualize depression. METHODS: Palliative medicine specialists (i.e., consultants/attending physicians in palliative medicine) practicing in Australia were recruited. Participants were purposively sampled. Individual semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted to explore their conceptualizations of depression. Nine participants were interviewed to reach data saturation. Interview transcripts were analyzed for themes. RESULTS: Four main themes were identified in relation to the conceptualization of depression: (1) depression is a varied concept--it was variously considered as abnormal, a medical problem, an emotional experience, a social product, and an action-oriented construct; (2) depression has unclear boundaries, with differentiation between depression and sadness being especially challenging; (3) depression is different in the palliative care setting--it was seen as more understandable, and distinct from depression that predates life-limiting illnesses; and (4) depression is a challenging issue. CONCLUSIONS: Depression is conceptualized by palliative medicine specialists in divergent, ontologically heterogeneous and ill-defined ways. A unitary concept of depression was not evident in this study. The concepts of depression need to be actively debated and refined in clinical practice, medical education, and research in order for more sophisticated and consistent models to be developed. The distinction of de novo depression from recurrent or persistent forms of depression also warrants further study.
Keywords: Concept Formation
Palliative Care
Depression
Specialization
Interviews as Topic
Qualitative Research
Rights: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
DOI: 10.1089/jpm.2013.0378
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