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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Turabián, J.L. and Pérez Franco, B. 2015. El acompañante en la entrevista clínica de atención primaria. SEMERGEN - Medicina de Familia, Vol. 41, Issue. 4, p. 206.

    Bouwmans, Angela EP and Weber, Wim EJ 2012. Neurologists’ diagnostic accuracy of depression and cognitive problems in patients with parkinsonism. BMC Neurology, Vol. 12, Issue. 1,

    Szczerbińska, Katarzyna Hirdes, John P. and Życzkowska, Jolanta 2012. Good News and Bad News: Depressive Symptoms Decline and Undertreatment Increases With Age in Home Care and Institutional Settings. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Vol. 20, Issue. 12, p. 1045.


Detection of depression in older adults by family and friends: distinguishing mood disorder signals from the noise of personality and everyday life


Background: The capacity of friends and family member informants to make judgments about the presence of a mood disorder history in an older primary care patient has theoretical, clinical, and public health significance. This study examined the accuracy of informant-reported mood disorder diagnoses in a sample of primary care patients aged 65 years or older. We hypothesized that the accuracy (sensitivity and specificity) of informant reports would vary with the patient's personality.

Methods: Hypotheses were tested in 191 dyads consisting of patients and their friends or relatives (informants) recruited from primary care settings. Gold-standard mood disorder diagnoses were established at consensus conferences based on a review of medical charts and data collected in a structured interview with the patient. Patients completed an assessment battery that included the NEO-Five Factor Inventory.

Results: Sensitivity and specificity of informant-derived mood disorder diagnoses were related to patient personality. Sensitivity of informant-derived lifetime mood disorder diagnoses was compromised by higher Extraversion and higher Agreeableness. Specificity of informant-derived lifetime mood disorder diagnoses was compromised by lower Agreeableness and higher Conscientiousness.

Conclusion: Patient personality has implications for the accuracy of mood disorder histories provided by friends and family members. Given that false negatives can have grave consequences, we recommend that practitioners be particularly vigilant when interpreting collateral information about their extraverted, agreeable patients.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Paul R. Duberstein, University of Rochester Medical Center, Box PSYCH, Department of Psychiatry, 300 Crittenden Boulevard, Rochester, NY 14642, U.S.A. Phone: +1 (585) 275-6742; Fax: +1 (585) 273-1082. Email:
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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
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