Since 1996, older patients have been treated in the Nuremberg Geriatric Day Hospital. The geriatric depression scale (GDS) is an obligatory part of the geriatric assessment at admission but its use in the clinical setting has revealed some problems. The aim of the study was to compare the GDS with the depression in old age scale (DIA-S) in terms of applicability and psychometric characteristics.
As gold standard a semi-structured interview was used to record the depression criteria according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Using a sample of 375 patients, sensitivity and specificity as well as positive and negative predictive values were calculated for both screening tests.
No clear superiority of any screening method could be proven. The sensitivity of the DIA‑S in the overall sample was higher than that of the GDS, but the specificity was much lower. In terms of predictive values, there were slight advantages for the GDS. In the sub-samples, poorer values were found in both scales for cognitively impaired or dementia patients with slightly better values for GDS.
The DIA‑S can be used very easily in everyday clinical practice, but no advantages of this method compared to GDS could be demonstrated.