Depression screening: a practical strategy

J Fam Pract. 2003 Feb;52(2):118-24.


A 2-stage strategy, combining an assessment of severity with depression criteria, can help a physician focus on the most severe cases without missing less severe ones that still need treatment. Because of its brevity, relatively high positive predictive value, and ability to inform the clinician on both depression severity and diagnostic criteria, the PRIME-MD Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) is the best available depression screening tool for primary care. One-time screening is cost-effective; physicians may elect to screen more often based on risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Family Practice*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales* / standards
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards
  • United States