Personality and psychopathology as predictors of patient-initiated overuse in general practice

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© 2019 Objective: We aimed to characterize, by means of the MCMI, the psychopathological profile of users above the 95th percentile in the distribution of patient-initiated, face-to-face consultations. Additionally, we sought to determine the specific contribution of the patterns assessed by the Millon inventory in differentiating between the groups above or below this cut-off point. Methods: A total of 16803 users who initiated at least one face-to-face consultation with a GP at any of 13 PHC practices over one year, were eligible. After discarding those meeting our exclusion criteria, 129 cases and 109 controls matched by gender and age completed the MCMI-III. Results: The profile of users above the 95th percentile showed elevated scores for compulsivity and narcissism, reflecting rigidity and perfectionism with anxious symptomatology but with no physical or psychosomatic complaints. Regarding differentiation between the two groups, the results showed elevated scores for dependency to increase the probability of belonging to the group above the 95th percentile; conversely, elevated scores for compulsivity appeared to be protective, decreasing the probability of belonging to this same group. Furthermore, elevated scores for anxiety and major depression also increased the probability of belonging to this group. The results for clinical syndromes present a profile of overusers reporting anxiety and somatic complaints associated with low self-esteem. Conclusions: Excessive patient-initiated consultations can be an easily detectable marker for underlying psychological problems. The results suggest that overusers of patient-initiated consultations above the 95th percentile show an MCMI profile associated with dependency, compulsivity, anxiety, and major depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Frequent attenders
  • Healthcare utilization
  • Mental health
  • Overusers
  • Personality
  • Primary care


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