Measuring depression in women around menopausal age. Towards a validation of the Edinburgh Depression Scale

M.C. Becht, C.F. van Erp, T.M. Teeuwisse, G.L. van Heck, M.J. van Son, V.J.M. Pop

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    Background: The relationship between menopause and depression is still rather unclear. Studies using different methodology especially those lacking a clear definition of depression are hardly comparable. Since the Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS) is not influenced by (menopause-related) somatic symptoms, the validity of the Dutch version of this instrument was investigated in a large community sample of menopausal women. Methods: In 951 women, aged between 47 and 56 years, depressive symptomatology was measured using the EDS, together with a syndromal diagnosis of depression using Research Diagnostic Criteria. Results: Twenty-two percent of the subjects had scores of 12 or higher on the EDS. With this cut-off point, depression (major or minor) was detected with a sensitivity of 66%, a specificity of 89%, and a positive predictive value (PPV) of 62%. A cut-off score of 15 or higher detected half of the women with major depression (sensitivity 73%, specificity 93%, PPV 53%). Limitations: Screening of depressive symptomatology at menopausal age in women of the community can only partly detect women with clinical depression. The relation between menopausal status and depression should preferentially be investigated using a longitudinal rather than a cross-sectional design. Conclusions: The EDS, which is easy to implement in both community and clinical settings (e.g., General Practice), might be used as an effective screening tool for detecting women at menopausal age who are at risk for depression, followed by clinical evaluation in those with high scores.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)209-213
    JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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