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Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between patient self-reported Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) symptoms and doctor diagnosis of depression using a tree analysis approach.
This was a secondary analysis on a dataset obtained from 10 179 adult primary care patients and 59 primary care physicians (PCPs) across Hong Kong. Patients completed a waiting room survey collecting data on socio-demographics and the PHQ-9. Blinded doctors documented whether they thought the patient had depression. Data were analyzed using multiple logistic regression and conditional inference decision tree modeling.
PCPs diagnosed 594 patients with depression. Logistic regression identified gender, age, employment status, past history of depression, family history of mental illness and recent doctor visit as factors associated with a depression diagnosis. Tree analyses revealed different pathways of association between PHQ-9 symptoms and depression diagnosis for patients with and without past depression. The PHQ-9 symptom model revealed low mood, sense of worthlessness, fatigue, sleep disturbance and functional impairment as early classifiers. The PHQ-9 total score model revealed cut-off scores of >12 and >15 were most frequently associated with depression diagnoses in patients with and without past depression.
A past history of depression is the most significant factor associated with the diagnosis of depression. PCPs appear to utilize a hypothetical-deductive problem-solving approach incorporating pre-test probability, with different associated factors for patients with and without past depression. Diagnostic thresholds may be too low for patients with past depression and too high for those without, potentially leading to over and under diagnosis of depression.
Background: Depression and anxiety are the two most frequently studied emotional outcomes of stroke. However, few previous studies have been carried out at a population level or beyond 6 months post stroke. The aim of this study was to describe depression and anxiety across the first year following incident ischemic stroke (IS), and identify predictive factors in a population-based study.
Method: The Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) was administered at baseline (within 2 weeks of onset), and again at 1-month, 6-months and 12-months after IS in a sample (N = 365) drawn from a population-based study.
Results: Over 75% of those assessed experienced depression or anxiety symptoms below cut-offs for probable disorder across the year post stroke. Moderate to severe symptoms for anxiety were approximately twice as likely (range 4.1%–10.6%) as compared to depression (range 2.5%–5.0%) at each assessment. The greatest improvement in anxiety occurred within the first month post stroke. In contrast, the greatest reduction in depression occurred between 1- to 6-months post stroke.
Conclusions: Anxiety symptoms in the moderate to severe range were twice as common as depression, and improved over the first month post stroke, whilst depression symptoms persisted for up to 6 months, indicating a need to target these two issues at different points in the recovery process.
Background: Diabetes prevalence continues to increase, with most diabetes patients managed in primary care. Aim: This report quantifies the number of diabetes consultations undertaken by primary healthcare nurses in Auckland, New Zealand. Methods: Of 335 primary healthcare nurses randomly selected, 287 (86%) completed a telephone interview in 2006–2008. Findings: On a randomly sampled day (from the past seven) for each nurse, 42% of the nurses surveyed (n=120) consulted 308 diabetes patients. From the proportion of nurses sampled in the study, it is calculated that the number of diabetes patients consulted by primary healthcare nurses per week in Auckland between September 2006 and February 2008 was 4210, with 61% consulted by practice, 23% by specialist and 16% by district nurses. These findings show that practice nurses carry out the largest number of community diabetes consultations by nurses. Their major contribution needs to be incorporated into future planning of the community management of diabetes.
Bruce Arroll, Head of the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland, New Zealand,
Tony Kendrick, Professor of Primary Medical Care at the University of Southampton
Anxiety is considered to be a universal adaptive response to a threat; this response can, however, become maladaptive. The distinction between abnormal and normal anxiety occurs when the anxiety is out of proportion to the level of threat or when there are symptoms that are unacceptable regardless of the level of threat, including recurrent panic attacks, severe physical symptoms and abnormal beliefs such as fear of sudden death. Abnormal anxiety is present when it causes ‘unacceptable and disruptive problems in its own right’ (House & Stark, 2002).
Epidemiology and classification
Anxiety disorders are usually the most common mental health condition in community settings (Kessler et al, 2005) and are responsible for more than 50% of the diagnosable mental health conditions in international prevalence surveys (Bijl et al, 2003). The same is also true in primary care settings, where as many as 20% of patients have an anxiety condition based on the categories of DSM–IV (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).
In primary care, anxiety disorders overall are more common in women (26%) than in men (12%) and more common in young people than in older people (25–44 years versus 65 or older). In young women, the prevalence is as high as 35%, compared with only 8% in older women. A similar decline with age occurs in men but with lower prevalence rates (MaGPIe Research Group, 2005). Recent research has shown that about half of adults with anxiety disorders have had psychiatric problems in childhood, emphasising the scope for early diagnosis (Gregory et al, 2007).
Burden of anxiety disorders
Among the various subcategories of anxiety disorders, as many as half are single phobias such as fear of spiders, fear of flying and so on, which do not interfere with functioning on a daily basis. However, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), social phobia and agoraphobia are more pervasive and disabling conditions, which between them are as common as depression (Table 10.1).