Screener Overview

Recognizing signs of mental health disorders is not always easy. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) is a diagnostic tool for mental health disorders used by health care professionals that is quick and easy for patients to complete. In the mid-1990s, Robert L. Spitzer, MD, Janet B.W. Williams, DSW, and Kurt Kroenke, MD, and colleagues at Columbia University developed the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (PRIME-MD), a diagnostic tool containing modules on 12 different mental health disorders. They worked in collaboration with researchers at the Regenstrief Institute at Indiana University and with the support of an educational grant from Pfizer Inc. During the development of PRIME-MD, Drs. Spitzer, Williams and Kroenke, created the PHQ and GAD-7 screeners.

The PHQ, a self-administered version of the PRIME-MD, contains the mood (PHQ-9), anxiety, alcohol, eating, and somatoform modules as covered in the original PRIME-MD. The GAD-7 was subsequently developed as a brief scale for anxiety. The PHQ-9, a tool specific to depression, simply scores each of the 9 DSM-IV criteria based on the mood module from the original PRIME-MD. The GAD-7 scores 7 common anxiety symptoms. Various versions of the PHQ scales are discussed in the Instruction Manual.

All PHQ, GAD-7 screeners and translations are downloadable from this website and no permission is required to reproduce, translate, display or distribute them.


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PHQ and GAD-7 Screeners