The accuracy of diagnosis of major depression by psychiatrists, psychiatric residents, and other physicians in outpatient psychiatric care settings in Finland was examined. A total of 232 patients who visited four mental health centers in the hospital district of Satakunta during three years (1989, 1992, and 1995) were retrospectively given a diagnosis of first-episode major depression by researchers, based on chart reviews. These diagnoses were compared with those made by the evaluating clinicians. Accurate diagnosis was associated with the specialty of the physician and the location of the mental health center. Recognition of major depression significantly improved over the time period, which could be attributed to educational efforts, increasing familiarity with DSM-III-R criteria, and use of new antidepressants.