Screening for depression in adults: U.S. preventive services task force recommendation statement

Ann Intern Med. 2009 Dec 1;151(11):784-92. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-151-11-200912010-00006.


Description: Update of the 2002 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation statement on screening for depression in adults.

Methods: The USPSTF examined evidence on the benefits and harms of screening primary care patients for depression, including direct evidence that depression screening programs improve health outcomes. The USPSTF did not reexamine evidence for those key questions that had strong, consistent evidence in the 2002 review, including questions about the accuracy of screening instruments in identifying depressed adult patients in primary care settings, and the efficacy of treatment of depressed adults with antidepressants or psychotherapy. New areas of evidence considered for this review (and not reviewed in 2002) include efficacy of treatment of depression in older adult patients, harms of screening for depression in primary care settings, and adverse events from treatment of depression in adults.

Recommendations: The USPSTF recommends screening adults for depression when staff-assisted depression care supports are in place to assure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and follow-up. (Grade B recommendation) The USPSTF recommends against routinely screening adults for depression when staff-assisted depression care supports are not in place. There may be considerations that support screening for depression in an individual patient. (Grade C recommendation).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cost of Illness
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / economics
  • Depression / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening* / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Psychotherapy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents