Comparison Between the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale–Self and the Beck Depression Inventory II in Primary Care



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Objective: The Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale–Self (MADRS-S) and the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) are commonly used self-assessment instruments for screening and diagnosis of depression. The BDI-II has 21 items and the MADRS-S has 9 items. These instruments have been tested with psychiatric inpatients but not in outpatient primary care, where most patients with symptoms of depression initially seek treatment. The purpose of this study was to compare these 2 instruments in the primary care setting.

Method: Data were collected from 2 primary care randomized controlled trials that were performed from 2010 to 2013 in Sweden: the Primary Care Self-Assessment MADRS-S Study and Primary Care Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Study. There were 146 patients (73 patients each from both trials) who had newly diagnosed mild or moderate depression (per DSM-IV recommendations) and who had assessment with both the MADRS-S and BDI-II at primary care centers. Comparability and reliability of the instruments were estimated by Pearson product moment correlation and Cronbach α.

Results: A good correlation was observed between the 2 instruments: 0.66 and 0.62 in the 2 study cohorts. The reliability within the 2 study cohorts was good for both MADRS-S (Cronbach α: 0.76 for both cohorts) and BDI-II items (Cronbach α: 0.88 and 0.85).

Conclusions: The 2 instruments showed good comparability and reliability for low, middle, and high total depression scores. The MADRS-S may be used as a rapid, easily administered, and inexpensive tool in primary care and has results comparable to the BDI-II in all domains.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2015;17(3):doi:10.4088/PCC.14m01758