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Revista de Saúde Pública

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Abstract

PARADELA, Emylucy Martins Paiva; LOURENCO, Roberto Alves  and  VERAS, Renato Peixoto. Validation of geriatric depression scale in a general outpatient clinic. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.39, n.6, pp. 918-923. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102005000600008.

OBJECTIVE: The Geriatric Depression Scale for screening depressive symptoms in the elderly has not been assessed in elderly outpatients who seek primary health care in Brazil. The objective was to determine the validity of the Short Scale for Major Depressive Episode or Dysthymia (GDS-15) in elderly outpatients. METHODS: The scale was applied in 302 subjects with 65 years and older and then examined by an independent geriatrician, blinded to the results. Major depression and dysthymia were diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV criteria. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated at several cutoff values and a Receiver Operating Characteristic curve was plotted. RESULTS: The best equilibrium was at the cutoff value of 5/6 showing 81% sensitivity and 71% specificity; the area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve was 0.85 (95% CI: 0.79-0.91). CONCLUSIONS: The GDS-15 can be used for screening depressive symptoms in Brazilian elderly outpatients. The previously suggested cutoff value of 5/6 is adequate.

Keywords : Depression [diagnosis]; Validity; Elderly; Aging; GDS-15 [Geriatric Depression Scale]; Sensitivity; Specificity.

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