Validity of the Brief Patient Health Questionnaire Mood Scale (PHQ-9) in the general population

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. Jan-Feb 2006;28(1):71-7. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2005.07.003.

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the validity of the Patient Health Questionnaire depression module (PHQ-9). It has been subject to studies in medical settings, but its validity as a screening for depression in the general population is unknown.

Method: A representative population sample (2,066 subjects, 14-93 years) filled in the PHQ-9 for diagnosis [major depressive disorder, other depressive disorder, depression screen-positive (DS+) and depression screen-negative (DS-)] and other measures for distress (GHQ-12), depression (Brief-BDI) and subjective health perception (EuroQOL; SF-36).

Results: A prevalence rate of 9.2% of a current PHQ depressive disorder (major depression 3.8%, subthreshold other depressive disorder 5.4%) was identified. The two depression groups had higher Brief-BDI and GHQ-12 scores, and reported lower health status (EuroQOL) and health-related quality of life (SF-36) than did the DS- group (P's < .001). Strong associations between PHQ-9 depression severity and convergent variables were found (with BDI r = .73, with GHQ-12 r = .59).

Conclusion: The results support the construct validity of the PHQ depression scale, which seems to be a useful tool to recognize not only major depression but also subthreshold depressive disorder in the general population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires