Temporal variation of validity of self-rating questionnaires: improved validity of repeated use of Zung's Self-Rating Depression Scale among women during the perinatal period

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1999 Jun;20(2):112-7. doi: 10.3109/01674829909075584.


It has been reported that Zung's Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) loses its validity in predicting cases of depression when used repeatedly. The validity of SDS was tested against the subject's Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) diagnoses of major/minor depressive disorders in 120 pregnant women four times throughout the perinatal period. Different sets of predictive SDS items were found at different time points. We developed an 'RDC-like' algorithm from SDS items. Though varying in sensitivity, we found that this formula yielded low, but stable, positive predictive values and constantly high negative predictive values. We suggest that the RDC-like algorithm is a better alternative for screening depression among perinatal women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Time Factors