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Screening and case finding for depression in offender populations: A systematic review of diagnostic properties

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Publication details

JournalJournal of affective disorders
DatePublished - Jan 2011
Issue number1-2
Volume128
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)72-82
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Background: Diagnosis of depression in offender populations is particularly difficult for health professions because of the many vulnerable complex problems associated with this population. As offender populations represent an 'at risk population', one feasible approach is the use of brief standardised mood assessments that can be either self-completed or completed by a non-specialist.

Aims: To review the diagnostic accuracy of brief psychometric instruments to identify depression in offender populations.

Method: The authors searched five electronic databases from inception to March 2009 and examined reference lists to identify the relevant literature. The authors included studies comparing the accuracy of any brief psychometric instrument to identify depression in offender populations with a standardised diagnostic interview conducted according to internationally recognised criteria. Two reviewers independently reviewed each article to assess inclusion, extract relevant study characteristics and data.

Results: In total, thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Instruments validated in offender populations included both general depression questionnaires as well as specific measures that had been developed for use in offender populations. The most frequently validated instruments were the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the Referral Decision Scale (RDS).

Conclusions: A number of different tools were identified in the review which could perhaps serve as a benchmark for the identification of depression in offender populations. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Depression, Sensitivity, Specificity, Diagnostic accuracy review, Offender, Prison, MENTAL-HEALTH SCREEN, PRIMARY-CARE, DETECT DEPRESSION, SUICIDE, QUESTIONNAIRE, METAANALYSIS, INSTRUMENTS, VALIDATION, DISORDERS, PRISONERS

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