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Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Nov;152(11):1615-22.

Who comes to a voluntary depression screening program?

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  • 1NIMH, Division of Epidemiology, Rockville, MD 20857, USA.



The purpose of this study was to describe who comes to a voluntary depression screening program by analyzing findings from the 1992 National Depression Screening Day.


Survey results from 5,367 adult volunteers at 345 facilities were analyzed. The authors examined the prevalence of depression detected at the screening test and sociodemographic characteristics and treatment history of the respondents. They also estimated the percentage of these individuals who would actually have a diagnosis of major depression (positive predictive value). The main assessment measure was the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale.


Of all participants, 76.6% (N = 4,109) had at least minimal depressive symptoms (score of at least 50 on the Zung depression scale), 53.3% (N = 2,859) had at least moderate symptoms (score of at least 60), and 22.6% (N = 1,214) had severe symptoms (score of at least 70). Few of the depressed respondents were currently in treatment for a mental health problem. The positive predictive value of a screening test diagnosis of depression was between 92.5% and 95.5% when a cutoff score of 60 was used to indicate depression and between 88.7% and 92.3% when a cutoff score of 50 was used.


Voluntary screening tests, as exemplified by results from the National Depression Screening Day, provide a good opportunity for identifying previously unidentified and untreated individuals with depression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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