Screening for major depression in epilepsy with common self-report depression inventories

Jana E. Jones, Bruce P. Hermann, John L. Woodard, John J. Barry, Frank Gilliam, Andres M. Kanner, Kimford J. Meador

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Purpose: Major depression is a common psychiatric comorbidity in chronic epilepsy that is frequently unrecognized and untreated. A variety of self-report mood inventories are available, but their validity as well as ability to detect major depression in epilepsy remains uncertain. The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of two common depressive symptom inventories to identify major depression in people with epilepsy. Methods: In total, 174 adult patients with epilepsy underwent standardized psychiatric interview techniques [Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) and Mood Disorders module of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders-Research Version (SCID-I)] to determine the presence of current major depression. Subjects completed two self-report depression inventories [Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), Center for Epidemiological Study of Depression (CES-D)]. The ability of these self-report measures to identify major depression as identified by the gold standard structured interviews was examined by using diagnostic efficiency statistics. Results: Both the BDI-II and the CES-D exhibited significant ability to identify major depression in epilepsy. All ROC analyses were highly significant (mean area under the curve, 0.92). Mean sensitivity (0.93) and specificity (0.81) were strong, with excellent negative predictive value (0.98) but lower positive predictive value (0.47). Conclusions: Common self-report depression measures can be used to screen for major depression in clinical settings. Use of these measures will assist in the clinical identification of patients with major depression so that treatment can be initiated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-735
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Self-report inventories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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