Journal article
Measuring depression with a well-being index: Further evidence for the validity of the WHO Well-Being Index (WHO-5) as a measure of the severity of depression

Publication Details
Krieger, T.; Zimmermann, J.; Huffziger, S.; Ubl, B.; Diener, C.; Kuehner, C.; Grosse Holtforth, M.
Publication year:
Journal of affective disorders
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BACKGROUND: In recent years, the WHO Wellbeing Index (WHO-5) has been used as a screening measure for depression. Nevertheless, research on the validity of this measure in the context of clinical depression is sparse. QUESTIONS: The aim of the present study was to investigate the measurement invariance of the WHO-5 across depressed and non-depressed individuals, as well as the shape and specificity of its relationship to measures of depression severity. METHOD: Of the 414 subjects who completed the WHO-5 and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), 207 had a diagnosis of a major depressive episode (MDE). A subsample also completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and was assessed by clinicians using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A). RESULTS: The WHO-5 demonstrated strong measurement invariance regarding the presence or absence of a current MDE. The WHO-5 showed a very high negative association with self- and observer-rated measures of depressive symptoms, especially in the range of mild to moderate symptoms. These associations were still substantial after controlling for measures of anxiety symptoms. LIMITATIONS: In addition to a diagnostic interview, only one measure for self- and observer-rated symptoms of depression was used. Furthermore, the observer-rated measure was only assessed in one subsample that exhibited a somewhat restricted range of depression severity. CONCLUSION: Although this index was originally designed as a measure of well-being, the results support the use of the WHO-5 in the context of depression research.

Last updated on 2019-30-08 at 21:47