The PHQ-2 as a Screening Tool for Clinical Depression in a Primary Eye-Care Clinic
Purpose: Screening tests for clinical depression, a highly prevalent and often disabling condition, have not been investigated in primary-care eye settings. The purpose of the present study was to determine the percent of patients in an urban primary-care eye clinic who fail the PHQ-2 screening tool. The PHQ-2 is an ultra-short screener consisting of 2 items regarding mood and anhedonia.
Methods: The two-question PHQ-2 was administered (as part of a larger questionnaire that included data on gender, age, and ethnicity) to patients seated in the Primary Care Clinic of the SUNY College of Optometry [University Eye Center] in Manhattan, NY. A total of 739 surveys were completed over a two-month period, with a completion rate of 69%. All surveys were completed anonymously, and unfinished surveys were not included in the final data set.
Results: The demographics collected in this study mirror those of the population that this clinic serves; overall very diverse, with good representation from each age group. Thirteen percent of the sample received a score of 3 or higher, the standard cutoff score for failure of the PHQ-2.
Conclusions: The failure rate on the PHQ-2 in a primary eye-care, urban population approaches that found in general medical practice, suggesting similar rates of clinical depression. Thus, the PHQ-2 may be a beneficial tool for screening for depression, however, it is important to follow-up with a referral to a mental health specialist.
Copyright (c) 2018 Steven H. Schwartz, OD, MA, PhD, Matias DellaBella, OD, MS, Leon Nehmad, OD, MSW
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