Recognizing Adolescent Depression with Parent- and Youth-Report Screens in Pediatric Primary Care

Michael Jellinek, Paul Bergmann, Juliana M. Holcomb, Alexa Riobueno-Naylor, Anamika Dutta, Haregnesh Haile, Raymond Sturner, Barbara Howard, J. Michael Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To compare the use of the parent-report Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC-17P) and youth-report Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Modified for Teens (PHQ-9M) in compliance with recent quality standards for adolescent depression screening. Study design: Parents of 5411 pediatric outpatients (11.0-17.9 years old) completed the PSC-17P, which contains scales that assign categorical risk for overall (PSC-17P-OVR), internalizing (PSC-17P-INT), externalizing (PSC-17P-EXT), and attention (PSC-17P-ATT) problems. Adolescents completed the PHQ-9M, which assesses depressive symptoms. Both forms were completed online within 24 hours of each other before pediatric well-child visits. Results: A total of 9.9% of patients (n = 535) were at risk on the PSC-17P-OVR, 14.3% (n = 775) were at risk on the PSC-17P-INT, and 17.0% (n = 992) were at risk on either or both scales (PSC-17P-OVR and/or PSC-17P-INT). Using the PHQ-9M cut-off score of 10 (moderate-very severe depression), an additional 2.4% (n = 131) were classified as at risk, with 66.8% (n = 263) of all PHQ-9M positives (n = 394) also coded as at risk by the PSC-17P-OVR and/or PSC-17P-INT scales. Using a PHQ-9M cut-off score of 15 (severe-very severe depression), only 29 patients (21.8% of the PHQ-9M positives) not identified by the PSC-17P-OVR and/or PSC-17P-INT were classified as being at risk. Conclusions: The combined PSC-17P-OVR and/or PSC-17P-INT scales identified 17% of adolescents as at risk for depression, including about two-thirds to three-quarters of adolescents classified as at risk on the PHQ-9M. These findings support using the PSC-17P to meet quality standards for depression as well as overall screening in pediatrics. Primary care clinicians can add the PHQ-9M to identify additional adolescents who may self-report depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-226.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Recognizing Adolescent Depression with Parent- and Youth-Report Screens in Pediatric Primary Care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this