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Psychiatric disorder in medical patients often goes undetected. In this study we have attempted to identify a minimum set of key symptoms from an extensive research interview [Present State Examination (PSE)] that might assist in the identification of psychiatric disorders among general medical patients. Stepwise logistic regression analysis was used to identify PSE-items that contributed most to the PSE-CATEGO classification of psychiatric disorders in 192 Dutch medical out-patients. A risk score based on two core symptoms (panic and depressed mood) and five supplementary symptoms classified patients with a sensitivity of 0.94 and a specificity of 0.91. In a separate U.K. sample of medical in-patients, consisting of 37 PSE cases and age and sex matched controls, the risk score yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 0.89 and 0.97 respectively. The results suggest that a few questions concerning psychiatric symptoms may facilitate the identification of the majority of patients with anxiety and depressive disorders in medical populations. © 1993.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Publication Date





397 - 404