Screening for depression in urban Latino adolescents

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2012 Oct;51(10):964-71. doi: 10.1177/0009922812441665. Epub 2012 Apr 20.


Purpose: Investigations were conducted on whether screening for adolescent depression was feasible and acceptable to patients in low-income, urban, predominantly Latino clinics. Further investigations were undertaken for provider acceptance of such screening.

Methods: Adolescents aged between 13 and 20 years presenting to 3 pediatric and adolescent primary care practices affiliated with an academic medical center in New York City were screened for depressive symptoms using the Columbia Depression Scale. Providers were surveyed pre- and postimplementation of the screening regarding their attitudes and practices.

Results: The vast majority (92%) of those approached accepted the screening. Twelve percent of those screened were referred for mental health treatment. Providers reported satisfaction with the screening tool and a desire to continue to use it. Screening was limited to 24% of eligible participants, and only 10% of screens were at sick visits.

Conclusions: The Columbia Depression Scale seems acceptable to adolescent providers and patients in the mostly Latino study population. It may prove to be a helpful tool in evaluating adolescents presenting to primary care for depression. Further study will be required in other Spanish-speaking and minority populations. New methods will also be required to reach a greater proportion of patients, particularly those presenting for sick visits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • New York City
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Poverty
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychological Tests
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health
  • Young Adult