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Assessment of late-life depression via self-report measures: a review

Authors Balsamo M, Cataldi F, Carlucci L, Padulo C, Fairfield B

Received 3 July 2018

Accepted for publication 17 August 2018

Published 16 October 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 2021—2044

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S178943

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker


Michela Balsamo, Fedele Cataldi, Leonardo Carlucci, Caterina Padulo, Beth Fairfield

Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences, School of Medicine and Health, University “G. d’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara, Italy

Abstract: Depression in later life is a significant and growing problem. Age-related differences in the type and severity of depressive disorders continue to be questioned and necessarily question differential methods of assessment and treatment strategies. A host of geropsychiatric measures have been developed for diagnostic purposes, for rating severity of depression, and monitoring treatment progress. This literature review includes the self-report depression measures commonly and currently used in geropsychological practice. Each of the included measures is considered according to its psychometric properties. In particular, information about reliability; convergent, divergent, and factorial validity evidence based on data from clinical and nonclinical samples of older adults; and availability of age-appropriate norms was provided along with the strengths and weaknesses of each measure. Results highlighted that in cognitively intact or mildly impaired patients over 65 years, the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Geriatric Depression Scale-15 currently seem to be the preferred instruments. The psychometric functioning of the Beck Depression Inventory-II and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, instead, is mixed in this population. Most importantly, this review may be a valuable resource for practicing clinicians and researchers who wish to develop state-of-the-science assessment strategies for clinical problems and make informed choices about which instruments best suit their purposes in older populations.

Keywords: depression, older adults, self-report, psychometric functioning, assessment, aging

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