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Fam Pract. 2003 Dec;20(6):682-4.

Performance of a single screening question for depression in a representative sample of 13 670 people aged 75 and over in the UK: results from the MRC trial of assessment and management of older people in the community.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK. dosborn@rfc.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A concise, accurate screening question for depression would be an important contribution to the Single Assessment Process for Older People.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the performance of a previously validated screening question for depression, in a large community sample.

METHODS:

Both the single screening question, and the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) were completed by 13 670 people aged 75 and over in the community. Responses to the question were compared with a "standard" of scoring above different thresholds on the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15).

RESULTS:

For more severe GDS-15 depression, the best performance of the question was a sensitivity of only 52% and a specificity of 93%.

CONCLUSION:

Even at its best, the question therefore misses almost half the cases. This highlights the problems of such simple approaches to routine screening.

PMID:
14701892
DOI:
10.1093/fampra/cmg610
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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