Background: Depressive disorder affecting women during the perinatal period is common in low-income countries. The detection and study of maternal depression in a resource-poor setting requires a brief screening tool that is both accurate and practical to administer.
Method: A Chichewa version of the Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ) was developed through a rigorous process of forward and back translation, focus-group discussion and piloting. Criterion validation was conducted as part of a larger study in a sample of women who had brought their infants to a child health clinic in rural Malawi, using DSM-IV major and minor depressive episode as the gold standard diagnoses.
Results: The criterion validation was conducted on 114 subjects who did not differ on health and sociodemographic characteristics from the total study sample (n=501). Test characteristics for each possible SRQ cut-off were calculated and Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves derived. Area under the ROC curve (AUROC) for detection of current major depressive disorder was 0.856 (95% CI 0.813 to 0.900), and for current major or minor depressive disorder was 0.826 (95% CI 0.783 to 0.869). Internal consistency of the SRQ was high (Cronbach's alpha 0.85).
Limitation: Inter-rater reliability testing was not conducted.
Conclusion: This Chichewa version of the SRQ shows utility as a brief screening measure for detection of probable maternal depression in rural Malawi.