Validity and efficiency of screening for history of depression by self-report

Psychol Assess. 2001 Jun;13(2):163-70.


Because of the recurrent nature of depression, there is a need for a rapid means of screening for history of depression that is either valid in itself or an efficient means of identifying respondents needing further assessment. This study examined the validity and efficiency of assessment of lifetime history of depression by self-report screening questions in comparison with the results of a structured interview assessment conducted a year earlier. Self-reported lifetime 2-week mood disturbance was unrelated to the results of the earlier interview. Self-report of treated episodes of mood disturbance were related to interview-assessed history of depression, but too modestly for practical applications. Self-report of past depression was more strongly related to concurrent distress than to the earlier interview assessment of history of depression. Implications of these findings for screening and assessment of history of depression are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*