Prediction of depression in systemic lupus erythematosus patients using SF-36 Mental Health scores

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2001 Jun;40(6):695-8. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/40.6.695.


Objective: As depression is common in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, we investigated whether and how the Medical Outcome Survey Short Form 36 (SF-36) scores, routinely used in the assessment of SLE patients, would indicate the absence or presence of depression.

Methods: The Depression subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D) and the SF-36 were applied in a cross-sectional cohort of 60 SLE patients [mean age 45 (S.D. 15) yr, disease duration 11 (9) yr, 90% female, 100% Caucasians]. The SF-36 domain score with the closest association with HADS-D was used for further analysis. On the basis of HADS-D scores, the patients were split into two groups: one without depression (score<8) and the other with possible depression (score > or =8).

Results: The SF-36 Mental Health score was most closely correlated to the depression score (rho=-0.69, P<0.0005). The calculated Mental Health score cut-off value which significantly differentiated possibly depressed from non-depressed SLE patients was 61. Its sensitivity for the detection of possible depression was 89%, its specificity 77% and its negative predictive value 97%.

Conclusions: The present study contributes to knowledge of means of excluding depression and the prevention of underdiagnosis and undertreatment of depression in SLE patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged