BACKGROUND: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is often a chronic disorder with relapses usually detected and managed in primary care using a validated depression symptom questionnaire. However, for individuals with recurrent depression the choice of which questionnaire to use and whether a shorter measure could suffice is not established.
AIM: To compare the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale against shorter PHQ-derived measures for detecting episodes of DSM-IV major depression in primary care patients with recurrent MDD.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Diagnostic accuracy study of adults with recurrent depression in primary care predominantly from Wales
METHOD: Scores on each of the depression questionnaire measures were compared with the results of a semi-structured clinical diagnostic interview using Receiver Operating Characteristic curve analysis for 337 adults with recurrent MDD.
RESULTS: Concurrent questionnaire and interview data were available for 272 participants. The one-month prevalence rate of depression was 22.2%. The area under the curve (AUC) and positive predictive value (PPV) at the derived optimal cut-off value for the three longer questionnaires were comparable (AUC = 0.86-0.90, PPV = 49.4-58.4%) but the AUC for the PHQ-9 was significantly greater than for the PHQ-2. However, by supplementing the PHQ-2 score with items on problems concentrating and feeling slowed down or restless, the AUC (0.91) and the PPV (55.3%) were comparable with those for the PHQ-9.
CONCLUSION: A novel four-item PHQ-based questionnaire measure of depression performs equivalently to three longer depression questionnaires in identifying depression relapse in patients with recurrent MDD.
- Area Under Curve
- Depressive Disorder, Major
- Early Diagnosis
- Middle Aged
- Primary Health Care
- Psychiatric Status Rating Scales