The Geriatric Depression Scale: A Review of Its Development and Utility

Department of Biological and Health Psychology, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain.
International Psychogeriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.93). 02/1996; 8(1):103-12. DOI: 10.1017/S1041610296002505
Source: PubMed


This article reviews the significance of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) to practitioners and researchers in clinical gerontology, more than 10 years after the scale was introduced to the scientific community. This report summarizes findings from the most relevant validation studies in which this self-report for assessing depression in elderly people has been tested. Included is discussion of the use of the GDS with specific populations (elderly medical inpatients, nursing home residents, and dementia populations), with description of the scale's psychometric properties and its utility when used with them. This article also provides data on the use of the GDS from more recent studies, including additional information on psychometric properties, influence of source bias, and the international dissemination of the GDS. We conclude that the GDS is a relevant self-report for the assessment of depression in the elderly, given its advantage over other self-reports that are not as easily administered to this age group, its utility in the detection of depression, and its adequate psychometric properties. However, the GDS does not maintain its validity in demented populations because it fails to identify depression in persons with mild to moderate dementia. Finally, some suggestions for future research are made.

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Available from: María Izal
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    • "It is a 30-item scale with clinical cutoff points at 5±4 (normal), 15 ±6 (mildly depressed), and 23±5 (very depressed). It has demonstrated good capacity for discriminating between depressed and non-depressed elderly people (Montorio and Izal 1996) and additionally shows sensitivity to change following a psychological intervention (Thompson et al. 1987). Quality of Life The Quality of Life Scale (QOLS;Flanagan 1978) measures satisfaction with needs met. "
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    • "Differential item functioning in depressive symptoms was examined across the GDS, the CES-D, and the MADRS. The GDS is a 15-item scale, with dichotomous response options, that is a well-validated and highly reliable scale among the older adult population (for review, see Montorio and Izal, 1996). It was administered in the Duke ADRC and UC Davis ADC. "
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