• depression;
  • physical illness;
  • Beck Depression lnventory;
  • life event

ABSTRACT We estimated the prevalence of depression in 150 medical and surgical inpatients. Forty-three patients (29%) scoring at 14 or above on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were classified as depressed. An excess of women and white-collar workers and more stressful life events during the last 12 months were found among the depressed patients. Of the 21 BDI items, 6 differentiated the 43 medical-surgical depressed patients from a group of 43 psychiatric inpatients with a diagnosis of primary or secondary depression (Feighner's criteria). Medically ill depressed patients scored higher in social withdrawal, work inhibition and irritability but lower in loss of libido, sleep disturbance, and lack of satisfaction. Our results show rates of depression in a medical inpatient population in Greece comparable with those in other studies. The use of BDI may help assessment of depression in general hospital patients.