Comparison of self-report and structured clinical interview in the identification of depression

Compr Psychiatry. 2014 May;55(4):866-9. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2013.12.019. Epub 2013 Dec 30.


Background: A self-report method seeking a binary response for assessing depression is a cost-effective and time-efficient way to obtain a psychiatric history, yet the reliability of this method is largely unknown. The aim of the study was to compare and assess the validity of two methods for identifying a past history of depression in a population-based study.

Methods: This study examined data collected from 891 men and 1086 women participating in the Geelong Osteoporosis Study. Self-reports of depression were compared with results obtained using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR Research Version, Non-patient edition (SCID-I/NP).

Results: Using the SCID-I/NP, 146 (16.4%) men and 285 (26.2%) women met criteria for a lifetime depression. Of those participants, 61.0% (n=263) self-reported a history of depression. The level of agreement between self-reporting depression and the SCID-I/NP depression module was reasonably high; 61% sensitivity, 89.5% specificity and the overall level of agreement (kappa) was 0.5.

Limitations: Results may not be generalizable to other self-report instruments or be suitable for use in clinical samples.

Conclusion: The SCID-I/NP remains the gold standard for identifying depression; however, given the moderate level of agreement between the self-report questionnaire and SCID-I/NP in our current study, we conclude that simple self-report methods can be used to identify depression with some degree of confidence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / economics
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report* / economics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires