Accuracy of the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) in a community-dwelling oldest-old sample: the Pietà Study

Abstract 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.