Depression Screening in All Adults Recommended by the USPTF

HealthDay News – The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends depression screening in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women.1 These findings form the basis of a final recommendation statement published in the Jan. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Albert L. Siu, MD, MSP1H, from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues from the USPSTF reviewed the evidence on the benefits and harms of screening for depression in adult populations, including older adults and pregnant and postpartum women. They also examined the accuracy of depression screening instruments and the potential benefits and harms of depression treatment.

The researchers found that screening improves the accurate identification of adult patients with depression, including pregnant and postpartum women. As a result, they recommend screening for depression in the adult population (aged 18 years and older), including pregnant and postpartum women. In order to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up, screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place (Grade B recommendation; there is high certainty that the net benefit is moderate or there is moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial.).

“Depression is a serious condition that is common among patients seen in primary care,” USPSTF member Michael P. Pignone, MD, MPH., said in a statement. “The Task Force recommends that primary care clinicians screen adult patients for depression.”

Summary and Clinical Applicability

The USPTF has recommended that all adults be uniformly screened for depression. This recommendation is especially relevant to healthcare providers who treat chronic disease. The prevalence of clinical anxiety and clinical depression in patients with rheumatic disease is higher than in the general population.2  Possible factors contributing to depression in patients with rheumatic disease include functional limitations, progressive nature of most diseases, pain with somatic symptoms, and other factors associated with the management chronic disease. 


1) U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation

2) Greenen R, Newman S, Bossema ER, Vriezekolk JE, Boelen PA. Psychological interventions for patients with rheumatic diseases and anxiety or depression. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Jun;26(3):305-19. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2012.05.004.