Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9)
What is the PHQ-9?
The Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) is a brief self-report measure used to assess depressive symptoms as outlined in DSM-IV-TR. The PHQ-9 has been demonstrated to be sensitive to increases in depressive symptoms and has also been shown to reliably assess symptoms of depression compared to symptoms of other mental health disorders.
How is the PHQ-9 used?
While the PHQ-9 is helpful for making diagnoses of depressive disorders, it is also a reliable and valid measure of depression severity. The PHQ-9 is useful for quickly assessing the presence and severity of depressive symptoms during clinical intakes and is also sensitive enough to change that it can be used to track patient progress throughout treatment.
Can the PHQ-9 be trusted?
In short, yes. The PHQ-9 has excellent psychometric properties for both the detection of depressive symptoms and differentiating between symptom severity. PHQ-9 scores of 5, 10, 15, and 20 represented mild, moderate, moderately severe, and severe depression, respectively.
Please note that the PHQ-9 is not the intellectual property of Neurocove Behavioral Health, LLC. References for the PHQ-9 are included in at the bottom of this page.
It is very important to note that this questionnaire does not replace the need for formal diagnostic assessment and that this screening measure is primarily used to inform clinical decision making. To be clear, you cannot substantiate a diagnosis of Depression or other depressive disorder with the PHQ-9 alone. However, it is helpful to determine whether or not a diagnosis of depression needs to be considered and to track treatment progress for those already diagnosed with depressive disorders.
Take the PHQ-9 Online
Kroenke, K., Spitzer, R. L., & Williams, J. B. (2001). The PHQ-9: validity of a brief depression severity measure. Journal of general internal medicine, 16(9), 606–613. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1525-1497.2001.016009606.x
Arroll, B., Goodyear-Smith, F., Crengle, S., Gunn, J., Kerse, N., Fishman, T., … & Hatcher, S. (2010). Validation of PHQ-2 and PHQ-9 to screen for major depression in the primary care population. The Annals of Family Medicine, 8(4), 348-353.