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The Geriatric Depression Scale is used to identify depression in older people in hospital, aged care home and community settings. The 15 item version is most widely used with self report or informant report, and takes 5/10 minutes to complete. Sensitivity ranges from 79/100%. Specificity ranges from 67/80%. It is suitable for use with residents with a Mini-Mental Status score of more than 14. It has questionable accuracy when used to detect minor depression. The Geriatric Depression Scale is available in many languages and can be downloaded from this webpage. Calculate the total score by adding up the ticks in bold (right hand column). Each scores one point. Scores greater than 5 suggest the presence of depression.
Date / /
1. Are you basically happy with your life?
2. Have you dropped many of your activities and interests?
3. Do you feel your life is empty?
4. Do you often get bored?
5. Are you in good spirits most of the time?
6. Are you afraid that something bad is going to happen to you?
7. Do you feel happy most of the time?
8. Do you often feel helpless?
9. Do you prefer to stay at home, rather than going out and doing things?
10. Do you feel you have more problems with memory than most?
11. Do you think it is wonderful to be alive now?
12. Do you feel pretty worthless the way you are now?
13. Do you feel full of energy?
14. Do you feel that your situation is hopeless?
15. Do you think that most people are better off than you?
Answers in bold indicate depression. Although differing sensitivities and specificities have been obtained across studies, for clinical purposes a score >5 points is suggestive of depression and should warrant a follow up interview. Scores >10 are almost always depression.
Source: Sheik JI, Yesavage JA. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): recent evidence and development of a shorter version. In: Brink TL, editor. Clinical gerontology: a guide to assessment and intervention. New York: Haworth Press, 1986