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Assessing Demoralization and Depression in the Setting of Medical Disease.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the presence of demoralization and major depression in the setting of medical disease.
Method: 807 consecutive outpatients recruited from different medical settings (gastroenterology, cardiology, endocrinology, and oncology) were assessed according to DSM-IV criteria and Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research, using semistructured research interviews.
Results: Demoralization was identified in 245 patients (30.4%), while major depression was present in 135 patients (16.7%). Even though there was a considerable overlap between the 2 diagnoses, 59 patients (43.7%) with major depression were not classified as demoralized, and 169 patients (69.0%) with demoralization did not satisfy the criteria for major depression.
Conclusions: The findings suggest a high prevalence of demoralization in the medically ill and the feasibility of a differentiation between demoralization and depression. Further research may determine whether demoralization, alone or in association with major depression, entails prognostic and clinical implications.