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The WHO-5 Wellbeing index performed the best in screening for depression in primary care

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 QUESTION: In the setting of primary care, what is the accuracy of screening questionnaires in identifying depression compared with the accuracy of clinical diagnosis without the aid of questionnaires?


Blinded comparison of unaided clinical diagnosis and 3 screening questionnaires with a standardised psychiatric interview.


18 primary care practices in Germany.


431 patients {18–88 years of age (mean age 52.6 y, 63% women)}* who were attending the practices on 1 given day and agreed to complete 3 screening questionnaires.

Description of tests and diagnostic standard

Before being seen by a physician, patients completed 3 screening questionnaires: the depression module of the Brief Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the General Health Questionnaire, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Wellbeing …

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  • Sources of funding: German Federal Research Ministry; Pfizer; Novartis.

  • For correspondence: Dr V Henkel, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany. verena.henkel{at}

  • Abstract and commentary also appear in ACP Journal Club.

  • * Information provided by author.