Epidemiology and Biostatistics Publications

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Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research





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Primary care physicians play a central role in pathways to care for first-episode psychosis, and their increased involvement in early detection could improve service-related outcomes. The aim of this study was to estimate the proportion of psychosis first diagnosed in primary care, and identify associated patient and physician factors. We used linked health administrative data to construct a retrospective cohort of people aged 14-35 years with a first diagnosis of non-affective psychosis in Ontario, Canada between 2005-2015. We restricted the sample to patients with help-seeking contacts for mental health reasons in primary care in the six months prior to first diagnosis of psychotic disorder. We used modified Poisson regression models to examine patient and physician factors associated with a first diagnosis of psychosis in primary care. Among people with early psychosis (n = 39,449), 63% had help-seeking contacts in primary care within six months prior to first diagnosis. Of those patients, 47% were diagnosed in primary care and 53% in secondary/tertiary care. Patients factors associated with lower likelihood of diagnosis in primary care included male sex, younger age, immigrant status, and comorbid psychosocial conditions. Physician factors associated with lower likelihood of diagnosis in primary care included solo practice model, urban practice setting, international medical education, and longer time since graduation. Our findings indicate that primary care is an important contact for help-seeking and diagnosis for a large proportion of people with early psychosis. For physicians less likely to diagnose psychosis in primary care, targeted resources and interventions could be provided to support them in caring for patients with early psychosis.


This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10488-022-01233-y

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License