Validation of Six Short and Ultra-short Screening Instruments for Depression for People Living with HIV in Ontario: Results from the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: Major depression affects up to half of people living with HIV. However, among HIV-positive patients, depression goes unrecognized 60-70% of the time in non-psychiatric settings. We sought to evaluate three screening instruments and their short forms to facilitate the recognition of current depression in HIV-positive patients attending HIV specialty care clinics in Ontario. METHODS: A multi-centre validation study was conducted in Ontario to examine the validity and accuracy of three instruments (the Center for Epidemiologic Depression Scale [CESD20], the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale [K10], and the Patient Health Questionnaire depression scale [PHQ9]) and their short forms (CESD10, K6, and PHQ2) in diagnosing current major depression among 190 HIV-positive patients in Ontario. Results from the three instruments and their short forms were compared to results from the gold standard measured by Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (the "M.I.N.I."). RESULTS: Overall, the three instruments identified depression with excellent accuracy and validity (area under the curve [AUC]>0.9) and good reliability (Kappa statistics: 0.71-0.79; Cronbach's alpha: 0.87-0.93). We did not find that the AUCs differed in instrument pairs (p-value>0.09), or between the instruments and their short forms (p-value>0.3). Except for the PHQ2, the instruments showed good-to-excellent sensitivity (0.86-1.0) and specificity (0.81-0.87), excellent negative predictive value (>0.90), and moderate positive predictive value (0.49-0.58) at their optimal cut-points. CONCLUSION: Among people in HIV care in Ontario, Canada, the three instruments and their short forms performed equally well and accurately. When further in-depth assessments become available, shorter instruments might find greater clinical acceptance. This could lead to clinical benefits in fast-paced speciality HIV care settings and better management of depression in HIV-positive patients.


  • Choi, Stephanie KY
  • Boyle, Eleanor
  • Burchell, Ann N
  • Gardner, Sandra
  • Collins, Evan
  • Grootendorst, Paul
  • Rourke, Sean B

publication date

  • 2015

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