2023 Guide | What Types of Depression Screening Questionnaires Are the Most Popular with Health Practitioners?


2023 Guide to the Top Survey for Depression to Detect Signs in Adults, Children, and Elderly

Disclaimer

Depression has been a growing concern in primary health care, mental health care, and social work settings throughout the 2000s. Between 2015 and 2020, the prevalence of past-year depression in the U.S. has increased from 7.3% to 9.2%.

This is a factor that has many medical professionals, social workers, therapists, and other mental health practitioners expressing the need for more questions about depression for a survey to be given to the general population.

What types of depression survey questions are used to detect the signs of a depressive disorder? What’s the difference between the PHQ2 and PHQ9 depression questionnaires? What’s the best survey for depression for geriatric patients?

We’re going to answer all those questions and more in this article on the best depression scale questionnaire tools you can use in a variety of healthcare and mental healthcare settings.

depression screening score

Depression Survey Questionnaire

Depression presents itself as a lingering feeling of hopelessness, sadness, and loss of interest in things that a person used to enjoy, and can impact health and well-being in multiple ways, and in severe cases, may lead to thoughts of harming oneself.

This is why depression screening questions are often given in healthcare settings to all patients as a standard practice, even if they’re not exhibiting any outward signs of depression. The depression test scores will then flag signs of depression so the individual can be treated.

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Table of Contents: Depression Screening Questions

Keep on scrolling down this page to read each section or click any link below to go directly to that section.

  1. What is a Questionnaire for Depression?
  2. How Are Depression Survey Questions Given?
  3. Overview of Popular Depression Assessment Questionnaire Tools
    1. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) Depression Questionnaire
    2. Patient Health Questionnaire-9 – PHQ Depression Scale
    3. Patient Health Questionnaire-2 – Rapid PHQ Depression Screen
    4. Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale Revised (CESD-R)
    5. Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D)
    6. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) Depression Questionnaire
    7. Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI & CDI2) Depression Questionnaire
    8. Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS) Depression Assessment Questions
  4. Conclusion | Best Depression and Anxiety Questionnaire
  5. FAQ | Depression & Anxiety Questions.

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What is a Questionnaire for Depression?

A questionnaire for depression is a survey that asks whether a person has been experiencing depression-related symptoms. One depression questionnaire PDF might ask 9 questions, while another one may have as many as 30 depression screening questions.

A depression screening score is generated from the survey answers. Many of these questions about depression for a survey will be answered with how often the person experiences the symptom. This gives an indicator of how severe the depression may be, which informs potential treatment avenues.

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How Are Depression Survey Questions Given?

A survey for depression can be given verbally by a healthcare provider, with the provider filling out the answers. Certain types of depression questionnaires are designed for the clinician to interview the patient and/or their family and then complete the survey.

A popular depression score survey format is the self-administered survey for depression. This makes it easier for healthcare and mental health professionals to screen for depression in busy settings or via telehealth sessions. The depression screening questions can be presented online in a web form, or the individual can be given a printed version of a depression questionnaire PDF.

Then the clinician can review the test to assess the depression test score and make recommendations based on the results.

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Do you have any questions about PHQ depression scoring or how to evaluate depression test scores? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.


Overview of Popular Depression Assessment Questionnaire Tools

The following depression screening questionnaires have been recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA) as tools that can be included in evidence-based practice.

Some of these are self-administered and some have interview-style questions about depression for a survey. This is not a complete list of every possible questionnaire for depression out there, but it includes some of the best, most well-proven, and most popular depression surveys.

Below are the different depression questionnaires we’ll be looking at. For most of these, we are using the APA’s estimated times to complete, which are approximate.

  • Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) (Time to complete: 10 minutes)
  • Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) (Time to complete: 1-5 minutes)
  • Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) (Time to complete: 30 seconds to 1 minute)
  • Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD-R) (Time to complete: 20 minutes)
  • Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) (Time to complete: 15-20 minutes)
  • Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) (Time to complete: 5-7 minutes)
  • Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI & CDI2) (Time to complete: 5-15 minutes)
  • Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS) (Time to complete: 10-15 minutes)

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Do you have any questions about the tools for depression test scores described above? Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.


Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) Depression Questionnaire

The Beck Depression Inventory (Beck, et al, 1961) is a 21-question depression questionnaire that is designed to be self-administered. The depression test score is based on a 0-3 scoring per question.

The depression screening questions on the BDI cover multiple symptoms of depression, such as sadness, feeling like a failure, self-harm thoughts, and interference with daily activities.

Here is an example of the options for the first question from the BDI and the depression screening score for each:

  • I do not feel sad (0)
  • I feel sad (1)
  • I am sad all the time and I can’t snap out of it (2)
  • I am so sad and unhappy that I can’t stand it (3)

The depression score results range from “These ups and downs are considered normal” to “Extreme depression.”

Patient Health Questionnaire-9 – PHQ Depression Scale

This PHQ depression screening is popular because it can be given quickly. It has just nine questions, and for each one, the individual will answer how often they have felt a certain symptom within the last two weeks.

The first symptom asked about on the PHQ-9 (Pfizer, Spitzer, et al, 1999) is how often the person has experienced “Little interest or pleasure in doing things.” The PHQ depression scoring result will range from “None to minimal depression” to “Severe depression.”

Patient Health Questionnaire-2 – Rapid PHQ Depression Screen

The PHQ 2 and 9 are closely related. The PHQ-2 is a two question depression screen designed for busy practices, emergency rooms, and other time-sensitive environments.

This PHQ depression screening uses just the first two questions from the PHQ-9. A depression score of 3 or more, indicates that depression may be present, and the recommendation is to next give the PHQ-9 (nine-question) assessment.

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Do you have any questions about the PHQ2 and PHQ9, how the PHQ depression screening works, or PHQ 2 and 9 interpretation? Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.


Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (Revised) (CESD-R)

The CES-D (Radloff, 1977) is a self-report depression questionnaire that was developed to be given to the general population to detect signs of depression. It was revised to the CESD-R in 2004.

This 20-question survey for depression asks the respondent to indicate how often they experience certain symptoms. It includes questions related to sadness, loss of interest, appetite, sleep, guilt, fatigue, and more.

Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D)

The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) (Hamilton, 1960) originally contained 17 depression screening questions, but later revisions increased that count to 21.

For the symptoms presented (e.g., depressed mood, feelings of guilt, insomnia) there are between three to five options for the individual to choose from to generate the final depression test score.

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Are you looking for an age-specific survey for depression, such as for children or geriatric patients? Read on, because the last three depression screening questionnaires are for elderly patients or children.


Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) Depression Questionnaire

The Geriatric Depression Scale (Yesavage, et al. 1982) was designed as a self-report depression questionnaire for the elderly. It’s commonly used in community settings, as well as acute and long-term care facilities as a geriatric assessment for depression.

The depression screening questions in the GDS are in a Yes/No format. There are two versions of the test, one with 30 depression survey questions, and one with 15 depression assessment questions. The questions include things like, “Are you basically satisfied with your life?” and “Do you often get bored?”

Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI & CDI2) Depression Questionnaire

The Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) (Kovacs, 1979) is based on the Beck Depression Inventory and adjusted to look for signs of depression in children and adolescents aged 7-17.

The depression assessment has the child choose from three options to answer each question. The depression screening questions are organized into five categories: Anhedonia, ineffectiveness, interpersonal problems, negative mood, and negative self-esteem.

Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS) Depression Assessment Questions

The Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS) (Poznanski, et al., 1979), which has been revised (CDRS-R), is a depression questionnaire to detect signs of depression in children, aged 6 to 12.

This 17-item survey for depression in children is not formatted to be self-report, instead, it is filled out based on input from parent, child, and teacher interviews. It is based on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and covers several symptom areas of depression.

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If you have any questions about depression score calculation or questions about depression for a survey, please let us know. Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.


Conclusion | Best Surveys for a Depression Test Score

The depression scale questionnaire tools on this page help clinicians in many settings identify potential signs of depression. They can also indicate depression severity to aid in a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Whether you use the PHQ2 and PHQ9, opt for the BDI or HAM-D depression survey questionnaire, or choose another one altogether will depend on your practice or agency and what you find the most helpful for you and your patients.

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FAQ | Depression Score Questionnaires

What questionnaires are used for depression?

Below are some of the different depression surveys that are widely used to detect signs of depression and aid in diagnosis and treatment:
•Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
•Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)
•Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2)
•Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD-R)
•Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D)
•Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)
•Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI & CDI2)
•Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS)

What is the PHQ-9 assessment?

This PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9) depression screening is popular because it can be given quickly. It has just nine questions, and for each one, the individual will answer how often they have felt a certain symptom within the last two weeks.

What is the PHQ-2 questionnaire?

The PHQ 2 and 9 are closely related. The PHQ-2 is a two-question depression screen designed for busy practices, emergency rooms, and other time-sensitive environments. This PHQ depression screening uses just the first two questions from the PHQ-9.

How are depression survey questions given?

A survey for depression can be given verbally by a healthcare provider, with the provider filling out the answers, or it can be a self-administered survey for depression.

A self-report depression questionnaire makes it easier for healthcare and mental health professionals to screen for depression in busy settings or via telehealth sessions.


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