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The accuracy of HADS and GHQ-12 in detecting psychiatric morbidity in breast cancer patients

Krespi Boothby, M. R., Hill, J., Holcombe, C., Clark, L., Fisher, J. and Salmon, P. (2010) The accuracy of HADS and GHQ-12 in detecting psychiatric morbidity in breast cancer patients. Turk Psikiyatri Dergisi, 21 (1). pp. 49-59.

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Abstract/Summary

Objective: Psychological problems should be identified in breast cancer patients proactively if doctors and nurses are to help them cope with the challenges imposed by their illness. Screening is one possible way to identify emotional problems proactively. Self-report questionnaires can be useful alternatives to carrying out psychiatric interviews during screening, because interviewing a large number of patients can be impractical due to limited resources. Two such measures are the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12). Method: The present study aimed to compare the performance of the GHQ-12, and the HADS Unitary Scale and its subscales to that of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (SADS) in identifying patients with affective disorders, including DSM major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. The sample consisted of 296 female breast cancer patients who underwent surgery for breast cancer a year previously. Results: A small number of patients (11%) were identified as having DSM major depression or generalized anxiety disorder based on SADS score. The findings indicate that the optimal thresholds in detecting generalized anxiety disorder and DSM major depression with the HADS anxiety and depression subscales were ≥ 8 and ≥ 7, with 93.3% and 77.3% sensitivity, respectively, and 77.9% and 87.1% specificity, respectively. They also had a 21% and 36% positive predictive value, respectively. Using the HADS Unitary Scale the optimal threshold for detecting affective disorders was ≥ 12, with 88.9% sensitivity, 80.7% specificity, and a 35% positive predictive value. In detecting affective disorders, the optimal threshold on the GHQ-12 was ≥ 2, with 77.8% sensitivity and 70.2% specificity. This scale also had a 24% positive predictive value. In detecting generalized anxiety disorder and DSM major depression, the optimal thresholds on the GHQ-12 were ≥ 2 and ≥ 4 with 73.3% and 77.3% sensitivity, respectively, and 67.5% and 82% specificity, respectively. The scale also had 12% and 29% positive predictive values, respectively. Conclusion: The HADS Unitary Scale and its subscales were effective in identifying affective disorders. They can be used as screening measures in breast cancer patients. The GHQ-12 was less accurate in detecting affective disorders than the HADS, but it can also be used as a screening instrument to detect affective disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, and DSM major depression.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:41801

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