HealthDay News — The US Preventive Services Task Force is urging primary care providers to regularly screen for depression in all adult patients in an updated draft B recommendation.

In 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended screening adults when supports are in place and offering selective screening when such support is not available. The new guidelines eliminate the selective screening and specifically add pregnant and postpartum women.

The Task Force noted that the Patient Health Questionnaire is the most commonly used depression screening tool in the United States. Other depression screening tools include the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scales in adults, the Geriatric Depression Scale in older adults, and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale in postpartum and pregnant women. 

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The Task Force recommended that all positive screening tests should be followed up with additional assessment for severity of depression and comorbid psychological problems (such as anxiety or substance abuse), alternate diagnoses, and medical conditions.

“This could be a checklist that patients fill out in the waiting room, or at home prior to the visit,” Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, vice chair of the Task Force and professor of medicine, epidemiology, and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, told HealthDay. “The good thing is we have many instruments, measures that have been studied for screening for depression.” 

The draft recommendations are available for public comment until Aug. 24, 2015.


  1. US Preventive Services Task Force. AHRQ Publication No. 14-05208-EF-1. Screening for Depression in Adults: An Updated Systematic Evidence Review. July 2015. Available at:
  2. US Preventive Services Task Force. Draft Recommendation Statement: Depression in Adults: Screening. July 2015. Available at: