Validation of a Chichewa version of the self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ) as a brief screening measure for maternal depressive disorder in Malawi, Africa

J Affect Disord. 2009 Jan;112(1-3):126-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2008.04.001. Epub 2008 May 27.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Malawi / epidemiology
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Translating