Screening for Depression in Children and Adolescents: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

Pediatrics. 2016 Mar;137(3):e20154467. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-4467. Epub 2016 Feb 8.


Description: This article describes the update of the 2009 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on screening for major depressive disorder (MDD) in children and adolescents.

Methods: The USPSTF reviewed the evidence on the benefits and harms of screening, accuracy of primary care-feasible screening tests, and benefits and harms of treatment with psychotherapy, medications, and collaborative care models in patients aged 7 to 18 years.

Population: This recommendation applies to children and adolescents aged ≤18 years who do not have an MDD diagnosis.

Recommendation: The USPSTF recommends screening for MDD in adolescents aged 12 to 18 years. Screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up (B recommendation). The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for MDD in children aged ≤11 years (I statement).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advisory Committees*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Disease Management*
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Preventive Health Services / standards*
  • United States