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Comparison of the Utility of the PHQ and CES-D for Depression Screening Among Youth with HIV in an Integrated Care Setting

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Tiffany Chenneville

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Depressive symptoms are well documented among people living with HIV and some evidence suggests that youth living with HIV (YLWH) are more affected than their adult counterparts. Therefore, screening for depression is imperative among YLWH to ensure optimal health. The objective of this study is to compare the utility of the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) as depression screeners in an integrated care setting serving YLWH in the southeastern United States.


As a part of standard care, the CES-D and the PHQ were administered to YLWH. A Retrospective review of patient records was conducted. Using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis and reports from mental health providers, researchers compared the utility of the screeners.


The sample consisted of 121 cases from 2017. Youth ranged in age from 12–25 (M = 20.68, SD = 2.75). Most were Black/African American (59.5%) males (56.2%) who acquired HIV behaviorally (51.2%). Sexual orientation was nearly evenly split between heterosexual (37.2%) and homosexual (34.7%). The CES-D demonstrated higher specificity and sensitivity for identifying clinical depression, yet, this was not significantly different from the PHQ, p = .09.


Generalizability of findings may be limited as the study sample included youth from a single integrated care setting.


Both the PHQ and the CES-D demonstrate utility for depression screening among YLWH. However, the PHQ may be preferable for use within a clinical setting.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.