Validation of a telephone-administered Geriatric Depression Scale in a hispanic elderly population

Paula Carrete, Federico Augustovski, Nora Gimpel, Sebastian Fernandez, Rodolfo Di Paolo, Irene Schaffer, Fernando Rubinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate a Spanish version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) for telephone administration. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS: The original version of the GDS was translated into Spanish. A random sample of 282 ambulatory elderly individuals was contacted by phone. Those completing the phone GDS (GDS-T) were asked to schedule an appointment within two weeks in which we collected data on demographics, physical exam, functional and mental status, and a face-to-face version of the GDS (GDS-P). We estimated question-to-question κ statistics and the Pearson correlation coefficient between the GDS-T and GDS-P scores. We evaluated reliability of the GDS-T and GDS-P using the Cronbach's α coefficient. We estimated the sensitivity, specificity, and criterion validity of the GDS using the DSM IV criteria for depression as our gold standard. RESULTS: Thirty patients (11%) refused to participate. Of the remaining 252 patients, 169 (67%) attended the personal interview. The Cronbach's α coefficient was 0.85 for GSD-P and 0.88 far GDS-T. Sensitivity and specificity were 88% and 82% for GDS-P and 84% and 79% for GDS-T. The prevalence of depression in the group completing both scales was 12.8% using the GDS-P and 14.9% using the GDS-T (P > .05). Among those who only completed the GDS-T, the prevalence was 22.7% (P < .05) suggesting that depressed patients kept their appointments less frequently. CONCLUSIONS: The telephone GDS had high internal consistency and was highly correlated with the validated personal administration of the scale, suggesting that it could be a valid instrument for screening of depression among elderly ambulatory Spanish-speaking patients. Because the depression rate was significantly higher among those not presenting to the personal evaluation, the adoption of GDS-T may help detect and plan early interventions in patients who otherwise would not be identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-450
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


  • Depression
  • Elderly
  • Screening
  • Spanish
  • Telephone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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