Background: Recently published studies analyzing sensitivity and specificity scores have demonstrated that the brief version of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ [J. Am. Med. Assoc. 282 (1999) 1734]) is a useful tool for the detection of panic disorder and depression.
Methods: We aimed to get normative data for the brief PHQ in a representative population-based sample. Sociodemographic data and PHQ data from 2066 subjects were included.
Results: Base rates for PHQ criteria of major depression were 3.8% with the typical 1:2 ratio between males and females (frequency of minor depressive forms: 9.2%). Normative data for the depression total scores were reported. Marital status, education and family income were significantly associated with depression, even after controlling for age and sex. For panic disorder, base rates were 1.8%; age, gender, and marital status were significant predictors. Frequency for panic attacks as a less restrictively defined version were 4.5%.
Conclusions: The normative data provide a framework for the interpretation of depression and panic scores of the PHQ.