Development and validation of a Haitian Creole screening instrument for depression

Transcult Psychiatry. 2015 Feb;52(1):33-57. doi: 10.1177/1363461514543546. Epub 2014 Jul 30.


Developing mental health care capacity in postearthquake Haiti is hampered by the lack of assessments that include culturally bound idioms Haitians use when discussing emotional distress. The current paper describes a novel emic-etic approach to developing a depression screening for Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante. In Study 1 Haitian key informants were asked to classify symptoms and describe categories within a pool of symptoms of common mental disorders. Study 2 tested the symptom set that best approximated depression in a sample of depressed and not depressed Haitians in order to select items for the screening tool. The resulting 13-item instrument produced scores with high internal reliability that were sensitive to culturally informed diagnoses, and interpretations with construct and concurrent validity (vis-à-vis functional impairment). Discussion focuses on the appropriate use of this tool and integrating emic perspectives into developing psychological assessments globally. The screening tool is provided as an Appendix.

Keywords: Haiti; community health workers; depression; global mental health; measure development; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / ethnology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Earthquakes
  • Ethnopsychology / standards*
  • Female
  • Haiti
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult