Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Med Screen. 2013;20(3):118-24. doi: 10.1177/0969141313503954. Epub 2013 Sep 30.

Detecting mood disorder in resource-limited primary care settings: comparison of a self-administered screening tool to general practitioner assessment.

Author information

  • 1Hospital Clínico Universidad de Chile, Unidad de Trastornos del Ánimo, Clínica Psiquiátrica Universitaria. Facultad Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.



Although efficacious treatments for mood disorders are available in primary care, under-diagnosis is associated with under-treatment and poorer outcomes. This study compares the accuracy of self-administered screening tests with routine general practitioner (GP) assessment for detection of current mood disorder.


197 consecutive patients attending primary care centres in Santiago, Chile enrolled in this cross-sectional study, filling out the Patients Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depression and the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) for bipolar disorder, after routine GP assessment. Diagnostic accuracy of these self-administered tools was compared with GP assessment, with gold standard diagnosis established by a structured diagnostic interview with trained clinicians (SCID-I).


The sample was 75% female, with a mean age of 48.5 (SD 16.8); 37% had a current mood disorder (positive SCID-I result for depression or bipolar disorder). Sensitivity of the screening instruments (SI) was substantially higher than GP assessment (SI: 0.8, [95% CI 0.71, 0.81], versus GP: 0.2, [95% CI 0.12, 0.25]: p-value < 0.0001), without sacrifice in specificity (SI: 0.9, [95% CI 0.86, 0.96], versus GP: 0.9, [95% CI 0.88, 0.97]: p-value = 0.7). This led to improvement in both positive predictive value (SI: 0.8, [95% CI 0.82, 0.90], versus GP: 0.6, [95% CI 0.50, 0.64]: p-value < 0.001) and negative predictive value (SI: 0.9, [95% CI 0.78, 0.91] versus GP: 0.7, [95% CI 0.56, 0.72]: p-value < 0.01).


Self-administered screening tools are more accurate than GP assessment in detecting current mood disorder in low-income primary care. Such screening tests may improve detection of current mood disorder if implemented in primary care settings.


Bipolar Disorder; Depression; Mental health; Mood Disorders; Primary care; Screening

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk