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Depression screening, brief, Prevalence, Validity



  1. Jesse, D. Elizabeth PhD, CNM
  2. Graham, Marilyn PhD, MD


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test brief depression screening measures as an initial step to identify women at risk for depression in pregnancy.


Study Design and Methods: Psychometric theory and a prospective correlational research design with a convenience sample of 130 low-income women guided this study. Measurements included (a) single-item depression-screening measures, (b) a two-item depression screening measure, (c) the Brief Depression Screen (BDS), and (d) the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), a standardized measure of self-reported depression that has been used widely in pregnancy.


Results: Depressive symptoms in pregnancy among these low-income women were 27% (35/128) as determined by a score of 16 or greater on the BDI-II. The two-item depression screening measure, "Are you often sad and depressed?" and "Have you had a loss of pleasurable activities?" had a sensitivity of 91% and a specificity of 52%, whereas the BDS measure had sensitivity of 53% and specificity of 80%.


Clinical Implications: Asking the two-item screening questions could be an essential first step in determining which women should receive further evaluation and interventions aimed at treating depression during pregnancy.