Detection of major depression in Ugandan primary health care settings using simple questions from a subjective well-being (SWB) subscale
Muhwezi, Wilson Winstons
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Objective To explore whether the 4- item subjective well-being subscale could be used to detect a major depressive illness. Secondly, to describe the prevalence and characteristics of depressed health care attendees at primary healthcare centres. Method Using a descriptive, cross-sectional study design, we interviewed 199 consecutive patients about their socio-demographics, subjective well-being (SWB), major depressive illness symptoms and depression severity. The instruments used were translated into Luganda. Results Point prevalence of a current Major Depressive Episode (MDE) was 31.6%. Using a one week reference period, we found that experiencing a lot of distress, having less energy or poor health, having poor emotional and psychological adjustment and not being satisfied with life were significantly more common among patients with a current MDE. The 4-item SWB subscale detected depression of up to 87.1% (95% CI: 0.818–0.923). In logistic regression, all four SWB items predicted a current MDE. Conclusion Major depressive illness is a common at primary healthcare level in Uganda. Four simple questions reflecting SWB items have potential to detect diagnosable patients likely to have a current MDE, making general screening procedures less necessary.