Accuracy of the 15-item geriatric depression scale (GDS-15) in a community-dwelling oldest-old sample: The pietà study

Filipi Leles da Costa Dias, Antônio Lúcio Teixeira, Henrique Cerqueira Guimarães, Maira Tonidandel Barbosa, Elisa de Paula França Resende, Rogério Gomes Beato, Karoline Carvalho Carmona, Paulo Caramelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Introduction: Late-life depression (LLD) is common, but remains underdiagnosed. Validated screening tools for use with the oldest-old in clinical practice are still lacking, particularly in developing countries. Objectives: To evaluate the accuracy of a screening tool for LLD in a community-dwelling oldest-old sample. Methods: We evaluated 457 community-dwelling elderly subjects, aged ≥75 years and without dementia, with the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15). Depression diagnosis was established according to DSM-IV criteria following a structured psychiatric interview with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Results: Fifty-two individuals (11.4%) were diagnosed with major depression. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.908 (p<0.001). Using a cut-off score of 5/6 (not depressed/depressed), 84 (18.4%) subjects were considered depressed by the GDS-15 (kappa coefficient = 53.8%, p<0.001). The 4/5 cut-off point achieved the best combination of sensitivity (86.5%) and specificity (82.7%) (Youden’s index = 0.692), with robust negative (0.9802) and reasonable positive predictive values (0.3819). Conclusion: GDS-15 showed good accuracy as a screening tool for major depression in this community-based sample of low-educated oldest-old individuals. Our findings support the use of the 4/5 cut-off score, which showed the best diagnostic capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-279
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Geriatric assessment
  • Geriatric psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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