Table of Contents
ISRN Emergency Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 965103, 8 pages
Research Article

Depression Symptoms and Risk Factors in Adult Emergency Department Patients: A Multisite Cross-Sectional Prevalence Survey

1Emergency Practice and Innovation Centre, St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, VIC 3068, Australia
2Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Grattan Street, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
3Emergency Department, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Grattan Street, Parkville, VIC 3050, Australia
4Mental Health Service, St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, VIC 3068, Australia

Received 17 June 2013; Accepted 31 July 2013

Academic Editors: L. V. Downey and W. Ryotaro

Copyright © 2013 Nancy Khav et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To identify the proportion of adult emergency department (ED) patients who screen positive for depression. Secondary aims were to identify factors associated with a positive depression screen and determine predictors of a positive depression screen. Methods. This cross-sectional, prevalence survey of ED patients was conducted at two inner-city hospitals. 350 ED patients were screened for depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Clinical and demographic risk factors were examined through medical records and additional questionnaires. Results. Of 350 participants screened, 50 (14.3%; 95% CI = 11.0–18.4%) screened positive. Independent predictors of depression risk included self-reported depression and/or a previous diagnosis of depression (OR = 8.345; 95% CI = 3.524–19.762), seeing a mental health service provider in the past 6 months (OR = 4.518; 95% CI = 2.107–9.690), and previous discussion about mental health with a local doctor (OR = 2.369; 95% CI = 1.025–5.475). Conclusion. ED patients were found to be at a higher risk of depression than the general population. ED-based depression screening, particularly of high-risk populations, has the potential to increase case detection rates and allow earlier management of these patients. Further research and validation of an ED-based depression screening tool are required.