Attitudes and roles of general practitioners in the treatment of schizophrenia compared with community mental health staff and patients

Vaughan J. Carr, Terry J. Lewin, Rosemary E. Barnard, Jane M. Walton, Jennifer L. Allen, Paul M. Constable, Jenny L. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Most general practitioners (GPs) are currently treating a small number of patients with schizophrenia; however, little is known about GPs' experiences in this area. This paper examines the attitudes and roles of Australian GPs in the treatment of schizophrenia and their relationships with specialist services. Methods. A total of 192 GPs' ratings of possible sources and forms of help for patients with schizophrenia were compared with the ratings of 50 mental health services (MHS) staff and 129 patients. Comparisons within the health professionals were also made in relation to diagnostic and treatment confidence, perceived roles, and typical problems encountered. Results. Perceived helpfulness ratings were reasonably consistent across groups. However, patients tended to rank close family members as more helpful. GPs and MHS staff reported complementary roles, with a shared responsibility for early detection and relapse prevention. Treatment compliance, and communication and accessibility to specialist agencies were identified as major problems. Conclusions. GPs fulfil a valuable role in the treatment of schizophrenia, which could be enhanced through improved training. Mental health services need to work more effectively with GPs in treating schizophrenia and acknowledge their complementary roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Attitude
  • Australia
  • Family practice
  • Mental health services
  • Physician's role
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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