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What it measures:

Assesses the presence and intensity or severity of depressive symptoms.

ICF Domain(s):

  • Body Function and Structures

ICF Categories:

  • Emotional Functions
  • Contextual Factors - Personal Factors

Target Population:

Conditions include brain injury, cardiac dysfunction, Parkinson disease, spinal cord injury, stroke recovery, pregnancy, postpartum, among others.


PHQ-9 has been recommended for use by the following taskforces: Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Multiple Sclerosis Taskforce (MSEDGE); Parkinson’s Taskforce (PD EDGE); Spinal Cord Injury Taskforce (SCI EDGE); Stroke Taskforce (StrokEDGE); Traumatic Brain Injury Taskforce (TBI EDGE); and Vestibular Taskforce (Vestibular EDGE). 

Clinical Insights

PHQ-9 is very simple and quick to administer in an inpatient or outpatient setting as a screening tool.  The tool is readily available and can be completed via pencil and paper and is simple to score. It’s reliability, consistency, and validity are generally good to excellent among a variety of patient populations and can be utilized to assess a patient's need for possible referral. It is possible for the PHQ-9 to result in a larger than desired level of false positives,3 but as a screening tool to utilize for referral to further evaluation or treatment for depression, the tool is quick and easy and may assist in better treatment of patients as a whole in clinical practice.

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