Assessing the Screening of Depression: What does the PHQ measure and how should clinicians conceptualize findings?

Cole recently published yet another amazing paper, expanding the ability to use contemporary personality assessment measures and link their use with other clinical practices. In this case, they examined how common depression screens (i.e., PHQ-2/9) used in medical settings relate to the more comprehensive MMPI-3. So useful, building directly on an article by David McCord on the MMPI-2-RF. Linked below are the tables which are directly related to screening effectiveness. Psychologists, as well as other health/mental health professionals, should see elevated scores on the PHQ (i.e., those exceeding clinical cut score recommendations; PHQ-9 of 9, PHQ-2 of 3) as being most associated with general internalizing pathology, and feelings of self-doubt, helplessness, and demoralization. Likewise, risk of suicidality is also significantly elevated at these cut scores and should be evaluated.

Published by Dr. Ingram's Psychology Research Lab

I'm an assistant professor of counseling psychology at Texas Tech University and an active researcher of psychological assessment, veterans, and treatment engagement. I am also in private practice here in Lubbock Texas.

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