A Spanish version of the geriatric depression scale in Mexican-American elders

F. M. Baker, David V. Espino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective. The purpose of this study was to establish the sensitivity of a Spanish translation of the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-S) in a sample of 41 elderly Mexican-American psychiatric patients with a diagnosis of depressive disorders. Method. Utilizing the reverse translation technique and bilingual Mexican-American psychiatrists as evaluators, patients with DSM-III-R diagnoses of affective disorder who were sequential admissions to an inpatient psychiatric unit were enrolled in the study. The GDS-S was administered by trained interviewers within 2-4 weeks of admission to 28 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and 13 patients with other depressive disorders (ODD). No other screening instruments for depressive symptoms were used. Results. Using the original cut-scores of GDS, the sensitivity was 39% in patients with MDD and 77% in patients with ODD. When a revised cut-score of 4 and above was identified reflective of depressive symptoms, the sensitivity improved to 75% for patients with MDD and 85% for patients with ODD. Because there were no true negatives, specificity was not determined. Conclusions. The GDS-S may have limited value in screening community-resident Mexican-American elders for depressive symptoms unless they have significant medical problems which limit their function and are associated with a dysthymic disorder. Screening instruments for depression which include neurovegetative or somatic items may be a better choice in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalInternational journal of geriatric psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Geriatric depression scale
  • Spanish
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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