Can older adults with dementia accurately report depression using brief forms? Reliability and validity of the Geriatric Depression Scale.

Research paper by Helen W HW Lach, Yu-Ping YP Chang, Dorothy D Edwards

Indexed on: 31 Mar '10Published on: 31 Mar '10Published in: Journal of gerontological nursing


The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a commonly used screening tool, but its use in older adults with cognitive impairment has been controversial. This study compared the short forms of the GDS with clinician diagnosis of depression using standard criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, text revision) in people with and without dementia. Sensitivity and specificity were acceptable for all forms of the GDS. These results build evidence for using the short GDS 5- and 15-item versions in populations that include people with mild to moderate dementia, increasing the ease of depression screening so it can be performed more frequently in clinical settings.