Validation of the telephone-administered PHQ-9 against the in-person administered SCID-I major depression module

Thomas H. Fine, Ateka A. Contractor, Marijo Tamburrino, Jon D. Elhai, Marta R. Prescott, Gregory H. Cohen, Edwin Shirley, Philip K. Chan, Toyomi Goto, Renee Slembarski, Israel Liberzon, Sandro Galea, Joseph R. Calabrese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: We assessed item-to-item correspondence between the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) major depression episode portion of the major depressive module. Method: Four hundred and ninety-eight soldiers in the Ohio National Guard were administered the PHQ-9 and SCID-I. Data were analyzed using chi-square analyses, logistic regression, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses and diagnostic efficiency statistics. Results: To screen for depression effectively, results indicate use of the cardinal first two items, items representing fatigue, appetite and sleep changes with an item level cut-off point of two, and the item representing suicidal ideation with item level cut-off point of one. Further, total PHQ-9 scores significantly predicted SCID-I major depressive episode (MDE) and diagnosis (MDD) with moderate accuracy. Lastly, the cut-off total score of 10 had the optimal balance of sensitivity and specificity compared to other PHQ-9 scoring options. Limitations: Differences in timeline of administration of the measures, differences in "worst episode" reference between the measures, and use of a specific military population are some of the limitations. Conclusions: This validation study provides guidelines for the use of the telephone-administered PHQ-9 in assessing the lifetime prevalence of a major depressive episode and diagnosis in non-clinical populations, with implications for clinical use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1007
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 25 2013


  • Depression
  • National guardsoldiers
  • Patient Health Questionnaire-9
  • Structured diagnostic interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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