Assessment of the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) as a screen tool for symptoms of depression in community caregivers for adults with intellectual disabilities

Jin Ding Lin, Lan Ping Lin, Meng Ting Kuo, Shang Wei Hsu, Tzong Nan Lee, Chia Im Lai, Jia Lin Wu

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The study aim was to determine the extent and determinants of reporting depressive symptoms in caregivers for persons with intellectual disabilities based on assessment of the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). A cross-sectional study was conducted, recruiting 455 caregivers for adults with ID who were providing care in community residences, with complete PHQ-9 data being analyzed. The results indicated that the mean of each item scored on the PHQ-9 varied from 0.3 (Q9) to 1.1 (Q4). For two items (Q3 - "sleeping difficulties" and Q4 - "fatigue"), the respondents reported occurrence during several days in the previous two weeks. However, after scrutinizing the distribution of each item in the PHQ-9, 3.3-14.5% respondents reported that each item happened nearly every day, and 4.0-17.8% expressed that each happened more than half of the days in the previous two weeks. With respect to difficulties examined on the PHQ, 47% of cases expressed that it was somewhat difficult, 8.2% expressed that it was very difficult, and 4.5% felt that it was extremely difficult to work, care for things at home, or get along with others. Finally, a logistic regression model revealed that only one factor of self-perceived health status (fair/poor vs. excellent/very good, OR = 7.519, 95% CI = 3.03-18.68, p < 0.001) exhibited a statistically significant correlation with depressive symptom occurrence (PHQ-9 score ≧ 10) among the caregivers. The study highlights the need to strengthen appropriate health initiatives for monitoring mental health status and to provide necessary services for community caregivers for adults with ID.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-184
Number of pages7
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • Caregiver
  • Depression
  • Intellectual disability
  • Mental health
  • Patient Health Questionnaire
  • PHQ-9

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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