Major depressive disorder is prevalent in the adolescent psychiatric clinical setting and often comorbid with other primary psychiatric diagnoses such as ADHD or social anxiety disorder. Systematic manual-based diagnostic procedures are recommended to identify such comorbidity but they are time-consuming and often not fully implemented in clinical practice. Screening for depressive symptoms in the child psychiatric context using brief, user-friendly and easily managed self-assessment scales may be of clinical value and utility. The aim of the study is to test the psychometric validity of two such scales, which may be used in a two-step screening procedure, the WHO-Five Well-being Index (WHO-5) and the six-item version of Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI-6).
66 adolescent psychiatric patients with a clinical diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD), 60 girls and 6 boys, aged 14–18 years, mean age 16.8 years, completed the WHO-5 scale as well as the BDI-6. Statistical validity was tested by Mokken and Rasch analyses.
The correlation between WHO-5 and BDI-6 was −0.49 (p=0.0001). Mokken analyses showed a coefficient of homogeneity for the WHO-5 of 0.52 and for the BDI-6 of 0.46. Rasch analysis also accepted unidimensionality when testing males versus females (p > 0.05).
The WHO-5 is psychometrically valid in an adolescent psychiatric context including both genders to assess the wellness dimension and applicable as a first step in screening for MDD. The BDI-6 may be recommended as a second step in the screening procedure, since it is statistically valid and has the ability to unidimensionally capture the severity of depressed mood.
Keywords: Well-being, Adolescent major depressive disorder, Rasch analyses, Mokken analyses, Brief self-assessment scales, BDI-6, WHO-5