Equivalency of the diagnostic accuracy of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis.
AuthorWu, Y; Levis, B; Riehm, KE; Saadat, N; Levis, AW; Azar, M; Rice, DB; Boruff, J; Cuijpers, P; Gilbody, S; ...
Source TitlePsychological Medicine
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsWu, Y., Levis, B., Riehm, K. E., Saadat, N., Levis, A. W., Azar, M., Rice, D. B., Boruff, J., Cuijpers, P., Gilbody, S., Ioannidis, J. P. A., Kloda, L. A., McMillan, D., Patten, S. B., Shrier, I., Ziegelstein, R. C., Akena, D. H., Arroll, B., Ayalon, L. ,... Thombs, B. D. (2020). Equivalency of the diagnostic accuracy of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis.. Psychological Medicine, 50 (8), pp.1-13. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291719001314.
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Open Access URLAccepted version
BACKGROUND: Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9. METHODS: We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy. RESULTS: 16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (-0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
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