Optimising the diagnostic performance of the Geriatric Depression Scale

María Izal, Ignacio Montorio, Roberto Nuevo, Gema Pérez-Rojo, Isabel Cabrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this work is to empirically generate a shortened version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), with the intention of maximising the diagnostic performance in the detection of depression compared with previously GDS validated versions, while optimizing the size of the instrument. A total of 233 individuals (128 from a Day Hospital, 105 randomly selected from the community) aged 60 or over completed the GDS and other measures. The 30 GDS items were entered in the Day Hospital sample as independent variables in a stepwise logistic regression analysis predicting diagnosis of Major Depression. A final solution of 10 items was retained, which correctly classified 97.4% of cases. The diagnostic performance of these 10 GDS items was analysed in the random sample with a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. Sensitivity (100%), specificity (97.2%), positive (81.8%) and negative (100%) predictive power, and the area under the curve (0.994) were comparable with values for GDS-30 and higher compared with GDS-15, GDS-10 and GDS-5. In addition, the new scale proposed had excellent fit when testing its unidimensionality with CFA for categorical outcomes (e.g., CFI=0.99). The 10-item version of the GDS proposed here, the GDS-R, seems to retain the diagnostic performance for detecting depression in older adults of the GDS-30 items, while increasing the sensitivity and predictive values relative to other shortened versions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-146
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
Early online date10 May 2010
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2010


  • sensitivity and specificity
  • ROC curve
  • cognition disorders
  • depression
  • psychiatric status rating scales
  • geriatric assessment
  • neuropsychological tests
  • logistic models


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