Background: As depression screening becomes a standard in primary care, the question remains of how effective and equitable screening can be implemented to avoid cultural and language-related disparities.
Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, rates of depression screening were compared for 3626 adult patients at a family medicine residency-based health centre in Pennsylvania, USA. The PHQ-2/PHQ-9 modality was verbally administered by nursing staff at the time of patient intake as part of a universal screening initiative. Chi-square analysis was used to determine the univariate associations of performed depression screening with variables of language, ethnicity, gender and number of office visits. A binary logistic regression was then performed to measure whether univariate associations remain significant after correction for other variables.
Results: Chi-square analysis revealed significant differences in screening based on univariate associations of language, gender and number of office visits. No significant difference was found for age or ethnicity. Binary logistic regression revealed the following odds ratio of being screened for depression for each variable: Spanish language (OR = 0.694, CI = 0.559 to 0.862), female gender (OR = 1.155, CI = 1.005 to 1.328) and office visit frequency of three or more office visits per year (OR = 2.103, CI = 1.835 to 2.410).
Conclusions: Spanish-speaking adults were significantly less likely to be screened for depression than their English-speaking counterparts. Women were more likely to be screened than men, and the odds of screening increased with more frequent exposure to the office. Future studies should be directed at validating these findings in multiple clinical settings.
Murillo LA, Grekoff GA, Sheffield JC. Assessing the effect of patient to provider language discordance on depression screening utilizing the Patient Health Questionnaire: an epidemiology study. Fam Pract. 2019;36(1):27-31. doi:10.1093/fampra/cmy097