Which DSM validated tools for diagnosing depression are usable in primary care research? A systematic literature review

Eur Psychiatry. 2017 Jan:39:99-105. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2016.08.004. Epub 2016 Dec 16.


Introduction: Depression occurs frequently in primary care. Its broad clinical variability makes it difficult to diagnose. This makes it essential that family practitioner (FP) researchers have validated tools to minimize bias in studies of everyday practice. Which tools validated against psychiatric examination, according to the major depression criteria of DSM-IV or 5, can be used for research purposes?

Method: An international FP team conducted a systematic review using the following databases: Pubmed, Cochrane and Embase, from 2000/01/01 to 2015/10/01.

Results: The three databases search identified 770 abstracts: 546 abstracts were analyzed after duplicates had been removed (224 duplicates); 50 of the validity studies were eligible and 4 studies were included. In 4 studies, the following tools were found: GDS-5, GDS-15, GDS-30, CESD-R, HADS, PSC-51 and HSCL-25. Sensitivity, Specificity, Positive Predictive Value, Negative Predictive Value were collected. The Youden index was calculated.

Discussion: Using efficiency data alone to compare these studies could be misleading. Additional reliability, reproducibility and ergonomic data will be essential for making comparisons.

Conclusion: This study selected seven tools, usable in primary care research, for the diagnosis of depression. In order to define the best tools in terms of efficiency, reproducibility, reliability and ergonomics for research in primary care, and for care itself, further research will be essential.

Keywords: Depression; Diagnostic tool; Primary Care Research; Systematic review of literature.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression / classification*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / classification
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reproducibility of Results