Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 851097, 9 pages
Research Article

Diagnoses of Patients with Severe Subjective Health Complaints in Scandinavia: A Cross Sectional Study

1Uni Research, Uni Health, P.O Box 7810, 5020 Bergen, Norway
2Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bergen University College, 5020 Bergen, Norway
3Research Unit for General Practice, Uni Research, Uni Health, 5020 Bergen, Norway
4Research Unit for General Practice, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
5Institute of Stress Medicine, Gothenburg 41319, Sweden
6Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
7Department of Education and Public Health, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway

Received 27 August 2012; Accepted 12 September 2012

Academic Editors: A. R. Mawson, C. Murata, and A. Zaborskis

Copyright © 2012 Silje Maeland et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. A diagnosis is the basis of medical action, the key to various social privileges and national sick leave statistics. The objectives of this study were to investigate which diagnoses general practitioners in Scandinavia give patients with severe subjective health complaints, and what kind of treatments they suggested. Methods. One hundred and twenty-six self-selected general practitioners in Scandinavia diagnosed nine patients, presented as video vignettes, in a cross-sectional study. The main outcome measures were primary, secondary, and tertiary diagnoses. Results. The nine patients got between 13 and 31 different primary diagnoses and a large variety of secondary and tertiary diagnoses. Fifty-eight percent of the general practitioners chose different primary and secondary diagnoses, indicating that they judged the patients to have multimorbid complaints. The most commonly recommended treatment was referral to a psychologist, a mix of psychological and physical treatments, or treatment by the general practitioner. Conclusion. Scandinavian general practitioners give a large variety of symptom diagnoses, mainly psychological and general and unspecified, to patients with severe subjective health complaints. Referral to a psychologist or a mix of psychological or physical treatments was most commonly suggested to treat the patients.