There are several different validated depression screening options available to clinicians. Below, we have compiled a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of screening so that you can make an informed decision about which screening tool works best for your purposes.
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)
This 10 item self-report questionnaire can be readily found online for free with scoring instructions. It is easy to score, designed specifically for use in peripartum populations, is well validated during pregnancy and postpartum, available in over 20 languages, and is cross-culturally validated. The disadvantages of this screening tool are that it is not linked with DSM diagnostic criteria and that is cannot be used for assessment or treatment tracking. (Cox & Holden, 2003)
This online version is used in the Pediatric Residency Program at UCSF, Fresno and is used with permission: http://www.fresno.ucsf.edu/pediatrics/downloads/edinburghscale.pdf
Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)
This 9 item self-report questionnaire can also be readily found online for free with scoring instructions. It is easy to score with items and scores linked to DSM depression criteria, can be used to assess and track treatment response, and can be used not just for peripartum populations, but also for non-peripartum patients in the same clinic. The disadvantages of this tool are that is was no designed for peripartum use (somatic confounds), it has only been validated by 2 studies for peripartum use, and that it is best validated for tracking response to treatment. (Kroenke, 2001)
In 2010, Pfizer, Inc. made the PHQ-9 along with the GAD-7 (anxiety screener) available for free to the public with permission to use, replicate, translate, display, or distribute. It can be found for download, along with a manual for scoring online at: http://www.phqscreeners.com/
Center for Epidemiological Studies—Depression Scale (CES-D)
This 20 item self-report tool is designed for community use. One study showed that it is better than the EPDS at identifying psychomotor retardation. However, there are potential somatic confounds and there are very few validation data for use on postpartum populations and none on antepartum. (Radloff, 1977)
The CES-D is in the public domain and is free to use. It can be found online here: http://cesd-r.com/
Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI)
This 21 item self-report questionnaire is designed for use in clinic populations. It is not available for free online and must be purchased. It is linked to the DSM and tracks response to treatment. However, there are very few validation data for use on postpartum populations and none on antepartum. There are also potential somatic confounds. (Beck, 1988)
More information on purchasing the rights to this screen can be found here: http://www.pearsonclinical.com/psychology/products/100000159/beck-depression-inventoryii-bdi-ii.html?Pid=015-8018-370&Mode=summary#tab-pricing
Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS)
This 35 item self-report designed specifically for postpartum use. It is not available for free online and must be purchased. The advantages to this screening are that it does into greater symptom detail and reduces somatic confounds. The disadvantages are that it is time consuming, not linked to the DSM, and has little validation data for postpartum populations and none for antepartum. (Beck & Gable, 2000)
More information on purchasing the rights to this screening can be found here: http://www.wpspublish.com/store/p/2902/postpartum-depression-screening-scale-pdss#purchase-product
Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Carbin, M. G. (1988). Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clinical psychology review, 8(1), 77-100.
Beck, Cheryl Tatano, and Robert K. Gable. “Postpartum Depression Screening Scale: development and psychometric testing.” Nursing research49, no. 5 (2000): 272-282.
Cox, J., & Holden, J. (2003). Perinatal mental health: A guide to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Kroenke, K., Spitzer, R. L., & Williams, J. B. (2001). The Phq‐9. Journal of general internal medicine, 16(9), 606-613.
Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale a self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied psychological measurement, 1(3), 385-401.