Mood disorder screening among adult emergency department patients: a multicenter study of prevalence, associations and interest in treatment

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Aged; Bipolar Disorder; Boston; Cross-Sectional Studies; Depression; *Emergency Service, Hospital; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Mood Disorders; Prospective Studies


Emergency Medicine


OBJECTIVE: Planning for emergency department (ED)-initiated interventions for mood disorders requires confirmation of prevalence data, identification of predictors, and an assessment of patient interest in such interventions.

METHOD: For two 24-h periods, consecutive patients aged 18+ years presenting to four Boston EDs were enrolled. We collected data on demographics, medical history, psychiatric history, healthcare utilization, depressive symptoms, manic symptoms and interest in hypothetical ED-initiated interventions. Patients with severe illness, altered mental status or severe emotional disturbance were excluded.

RESULTS: Of 476 screened patients, 152 (32%; 95% CI, 28-36%) screened positive for depression and 17 (4%; 95% CI, 2-6%) for mania. Depressed patients were more likely than nondepressed patients (all P<.01) to have income <20,000/year (43% vs. 25%), a substance abuse history (19% vs. 5%), a chronic medical condition (67% vs. 53%), use tobacco (42% vs. 22%), have at least one ED visit in the past 6 months (76% vs. 56%) and have at least one hospitalization for substance abuse in the past 6 months (5% vs. 1%). About 50% of patients who screened positive for any mood disorder were interested in at least one ED-based intervention.

CONCLUSION: ED patients screening positive for mood disorder symptoms are likely to have complex psychiatric, medical and social histories, which will be necessary to take into account when designing ED-initiated interventions.

DOI of Published Version



Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2008 Jan-Feb;30(1):4-13. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

General hospital psychiatry


At the time of publication, Edwin Boudreaux was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID