Responsiveness of the PHQ-9 to Psychopharmacological Depression Treatment

Psychosomatics. Jan-Feb 2006;47(1):62-7. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.47.1.62.


This is the first study that investigates the responsiveness of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), a standard 9-item self-report depression scale, to antidepressant medication. Authors analyzed data from 1,788 depressed outpatients (66.8% women; mean age, 50.3 years), participating in a prospective, open-label, non-interventional, observational study of sertraline. On the 0-27-point PHQ-9 scale, the total sample gained 10.3 points at 12 weeks, corresponding to a standardized effect size of -1.85. With reference to two independent criterion standards, the PHQ-9 change scores were considerably greater in therapy responders than in nonresponders. The PHQ-9 was equally responsive in men and women. Therefore, the PHQ-9 qualifies as a practical tool for gauging response to pharmacological treatment in depressed patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Sertraline