School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

A Comparison of Depressive Symptom Self-Reported Measures in the Texas Youth Depression and Suicide Research Network (TX-YDSRN)

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Objective: To evaluate psychometrically and provide crosswalks between 3 self-report measures of depressive symptomatology in youth in psychiatric care settings. Ratings included the Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents (PHQ-A), a widely used 9-item self-report; the 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology–Self-Report (QIDS-SR16); and the 5-item Very Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology–Self-Report (VQIDS-SR5), a recent effort to create a bridge from the QIDS-SR16 to clinical practice.

Methods: Data from the Texas Youth Depression and Suicide Research Network Registry (August 26, 2020–May 11, 2022) were included in this work. At first visit, 795 depressed or suicidal adolescent (12–20 years of age) psychiatric outpatients completed the PHQ-A, QIDS-SR16, and VQIDS-SR5. Classical test theory and item-response theory (IRT) analyses were conducted. Crosswalks among total scales were created. Sensitivity to change over 1-month follow-up was assessed for all 3 scales (n = 682).

Results: Cronbach alphas were 0.86 (PHQ-A), 0.80 (QIDS-SR16), and 0.76 (VQIDS-SR5). Item total correlations were 0.49–0.72, 0.29–0.64, and 0.43–0.61, respectively. All 3 scales were unidimensional and sensitive to change over a 1-month period. IRT analyses revealed satisfactory item performance. Modest but significant associations were found between baseline to 1-month changes in PHQ-A and VQIDS-SR5 total scores (r = 0.50, P < .0001) and between PHQ-A and QIDS-SR16 total scores (r = 0.56; P < .0001). Categorical thresholds of severity (ie, mild, moderate, severe, and very severe) were comparable between PHQ-A and QIDS-SR16.

Conclusions: The PHQ-A, QIDS-SR16, and VQIDS-SR5 are unidimensional, psychometrically acceptable self-reports of depressive prevalence or severity in adolescents and young adults in this sample. Total scale scores on any measure can be converted reliably to those on any other.


© 2023 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.

Publication Title

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry



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Mentor/PI Department