A Comparison of Two Depressive Symptomatology Measures in Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Clients

Published In: Journal of Substance Abuse treatment, v. 37, no. 3, Oct. 2009, p. 318-325

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Kimberly A. Hepner, Sarah B. Hunter, Maria Orlando Edelen, Annie Jie Zhou, Katherine E. Watkins

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Comorbid depression is common among substance abusers, making routine assessment of depression critical for high-quality care. The authors evaluated two of the most commonly used depressive symptomatology measures in a sample of clients (N = 240) in residential substance abuse treatment settings. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) has previously been used in clients receiving substance abuse treatment. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), originally developed for primary care settings, has not been used as frequently in substance abuse treatment settings, and it is unknown how it performs in this population. The measures were highly correlated with each other (r = .76) and demonstrated good internal consistency reliability (BDI-II = 0.91, PHQ-9 = 0.87); however, the PHQ-9 classifies more individuals as having mild depression symptoms relative to the BDI-II, which tends to suggest these individuals have no depression symptoms. Implications for assessing depression symptoms in individuals receiving substance abuse treatment are discussed.

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