Treatment of depression in voluntary versus mandated physicians

R. Scott Johnson, James Chris Fowler, Kristi A. Sikes, Jon G. Allen, John M. Oldham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Few if any publications discuss the effectiveness of voluntary versus mandated treatment for impaired physicians. This retrospective case-control study compared the recovery rates of physicians whose treatment was mandated or coerced by either licensure boards or employers (mandated physicians) with the rates for physicians admitted voluntarily (voluntary physicians) to the Menninger Clinic’s Professionals in Crisis program from 2009 through 2012. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)-II scores served as the primary outcome measure. At the time of admission, voluntary physicians were more depressed, but the improvement rates in the voluntary and mandated groups did not differ significantly. In addition, the two groups differed neither in rates of return to the healthy range of BDI-II scores, nor in whether BDI-II scores had decreased by at least two standard deviations by the time of discharge. These findings suggest that state physician health programs can continue to mandate physicians into treatment despite concerns that mandatory treatment may be less efficacious than voluntary treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-482
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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