What are simple screening tests for depression and what are their efficacy?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

The simplest screening test is a single question: Are you depressed? A pooled analysis found that single-question screening had a specificity of 97% but an overall sensitivity of 32% and, thus, would identify only 3 of every 10 patients with depression in primary care. [96]

The following 2-question test addresses depressed mood and anhedonia:

  • During the past month, have you been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?

  • During the past month, have you been bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things?

In a cross-sectional study, these 2 screening questions showed a sensitivity of 97% and a specificity of 67%. [97]


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