Best 2023 Guide to PHQ2 Depression Screen & How to Score It


Top 2023 Guide for Health Care Workers – Overview of the PHQ-2 Questionnaire and PHQ 2 Test Screening

Disclaimer

The PHQ 2 depression questionnaire is a quick and affordable way to screen for signs of depression. It can also be done by all types of staff (lay workers, social workers, nurses, counselors, psychologists, etc.) or can be self-administered by the individual for scoring depression levels.

In this article, you’ll get an overview of the patient health questionnaire 2 – PHQ 2 and learn how to read a PHQ 2 score.

Disclaimer


A Majority of Depression Goes Untreated

Many organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association recommend annual screening for depression to determine a PHQ 2 positive score or a negative reading.

Depression is the #1 mental health related cause of the “Global Burden of Disease.” Unfortunately, in several countries, a majority of those suffering from depression go undiagnosed and untreated.

Low detection rates in primary care settings are a main driver of this, and it’s a problem that the PHQ-2 test and PHQ 2 score range were created to correct.

phq 2 score range

PHQ 2 Screening for Depression

Detection rates for depressive disorders can be low for many reasons, such as:

  • Lack of time to do an extensive assessment with an individual
  • Primary care staff being unfamiliar with depression assessment techniques
  • Budgetary considerations
  • Not enough personnel are trained to do screening for depression

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See Also: GAD-7 Scoring Assessment | Guide


Table of Contents: PHQ 2 Scoring & 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 the PHQ 2 Screening?
    1. How Does the PHQ 2 Test Work?
  2. What Is the Difference Between the PHQ2 and PHQ9?
  3. What Are the PHQ2 Questions?
  4. PHQ 2 Score Guide
  5. How Often Should You Give the PHQ2 Depression Screen?
  6. Conclusion | PHQ2 Score for Depression
  7. FAQ | Depression Screener & PHQ-2 Score

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What Is the PHQ 2 Screening? Why is It Important?

The PHQ 2 assessment is a rapid screening test to identify whether a person may be at risk for depression. There are just two PHQ 2 questions on the survey, which makes it fast to give and score, even in busy primary care or urgent care settings.

The PHQ 2 and 9 are closely related. The PHQ-9 is a longer nine-question depression assessment test to identify depression and the severity of that depression. We’ll get into the distinct differences between the PHQ 2 and 9 in the next section.

How Does the PHQ 2 Test Work?

The PHQ 2 form has two questions that relate to the key symptoms of depression, as described in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 4).

For each of the PHQ-2 questions, the respondent will indicate how often they’ve experienced that symptom in the past two weeks. They can choose from four frequency options and each of those options has a PHQ 2 score attached.

The PHQ 2 scoring options for how often they’ve experienced the indicated symptoms are:

  • Not at all (=0)
  • Several days (=1)
  • More than half the days (=2)
  • Nearly every day (=3)

The PHQ 2 positive score is added for the two questions to get the result. (We’ll go over PHQ 2 depression scoring shortly.)

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Related: Clinical Manual | How Does the PHQ 9 Depression Scale Work?


Do you have any questions or feedback to share about the patient health questionnaire 2 PHQ 2? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.


What Is the Difference Between the PHQ2 and PHQ9?

The PHQ-9 is a nine-question test to help with diagnosing depression. It provides information on the presence of depression and its severity.

The PHQ 2 form is a brief pre-screening tool to determine whether depression may be indicated, and if so, the next step would be to give the individual the longer PHQ-9 questionnaire.

Where do you get the two PHQ2 questions? They are questions #1 and #2 from the PHQ-9 assessment.

(Both the PHQ2 and PHQ9 were developed by Pfizer, Inc. and its research partners Robert Spitzer, Janet Williams, and Kurt Kroenke.)

What Is the PHQ-4?

This selection of depression and anxiety tests developed by this same team includes one called the PHQ-4. This assessment combines the PHQ 2 GAD 2 questions for rapid screening of both depression and anxiety.

The GAD-2 is an anxiety test that has just two questions (similar to the PHQ 2 form), which are taken from the longer GAD-7, seven-question anxiety survey.

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What Are the PHQ2 Questions?

The PHQ-2 questionnaire includes two questions that can help indicate if a person might have symptoms of depression.

The PHQ 2 screening is presented in this way:

Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by the following problems?

  1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things
  2. Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless

For each of the two questions, the respondent will answer one of the following: Not at all, Several days, More than half the days, or Nearly every day. As mentioned earlier in this article, each of the PHQ-2 questions will have a PHQ 2 score range between 0-3, with “Not at all” being a 0 and “Nearly every day” scoring 3.

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PHQ 2 Score Guide

Because there are only two questions on the PHQ-2 assessment, the scoring is quick and easy. Each question can get a PHQ 2 score between 0-3, which means the total assessment score can be between 0-6.

A score of 3 and above indicates a need to take the next step, as depression may be indicated.

The next step would be to administer or have the person take a self-assessment for the PHQ-9 test, which adds seven more questions to what they have already answered.

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Are you looking for social work assessment tools, like a PHQ-2 scoring questionnaire, or other social work assessments, like the GAD-7 or PHQ-9? Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.


How Often Should You Give the PHQ2 Depression Screen?

How often the PHQ2 depression screen questionnaire is given may be dependent on the person’s situation and the recommendation of their healthcare or mental health provider.

However, there is a general recommendation from many different organizations to screen an individual for signs of depression once per year, such as during an annual physical. The Patient Health Questionnaire 2 is a recommended way to do this since it’s quick, easy, and reliable.

Some of the organizations that recommend giving a routine depression screening to adults and/or children and adolescents (10 and up) annually include:

  • S. Preventative Services Task Force
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • VA/DoD

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Do you have any questions about this PHQ 2 scoring guide or have feedback about the best PHQ 2 form used by your organization? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.


Conclusion | PHQ2 Score for Depression

Depression is a prevalent issue throughout the world and one that can be treated if it’s detected. The PHQ2 depression screening enables healthcare and mental health professionals in all types of settings to quickly perform a rapid assessment for signs of depression.

The PHQ-2 scoring tool is part of a family of proven assessments that help clinicians identify depression and anxiety disorders. Using these tools reduces the time it takes to initiate the necessary treatment to help an individual live a better quality of life.

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FAQ | PHQ 2Depression Screener & PHQ-2 Score

What is a PHQ 2 screening?

The PHQ 2 assessment is a rapid screening test to identify whether a person may be at risk for depression. There are just two PHQ 2 questions on the survey, which makes it fast to give and score, even in busy primary care or urgent care settings.

When utilizing the PHQ 2 form, what are you screening for?

The PHQ2 score will show whether an individual is showing signs of depression. If so, the individual can then be given the longer PHQ-9 assessment.

What is the difference between the PHQ2 and PHQ9?

The PHQ-9 is a nine-question test to help with diagnosing depression. It provides information on the presence of depression and its severity.

The PHQ 2 form is a brief two-question pre-screening tool to determine whether depression may be indicated, and if so, the next step would be to give the individual the longer PHQ-9 questionnaire.

How often should the PHQ2 depression screen be given?

How often the PHQ2 depression screen questionnaire is given may be dependent on the person’s situation and the recommendation of their healthcare or mental health provider.

However, there is a general recommendation from many different organizations to screen an individual for signs of depression once per year, such as during an annual physical.


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