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Development of the EURO–D scale – a European Union initiative to compare symptoms of depression in 14 European centres

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

M. J. Prince*
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London
F. Reischies
Department of Psychiatry, Universität Klinikum Eschenallee 3, Berlin, Germany
A. T. F. Beekman
Department of Psychiatry, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
R. Fuhrer
Hôpital de la Salpetriere, 75652 Paris, Cedex 13, France
C. Jonker
Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1081C, 1081 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
S. -L. Kivela
Unit of General Practice PB5000, 90401 Oulu, Finland
B. A. Lawlor
Department of Psychiatry of the Elderly, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
A. Lobo
Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Clinico Universitario, Zaragoza, Spain
H. Magnusson
M. Fichter
Department of Psychiatry, University of Munich, Munich, Germany
H. Van Oyen
Department of Epidemiology, Scientific Institute of Public Health, J. Wytsmanstraat 4, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
M. Roelands
Department of Behaviour Therapy and Counselling, University of Gent, B-9000 Gent, Belgium
I. Skoog
Sahlgrenska sjukhuset, 413 45 Goteborg, Sweden
C. Turrina
Ospendale Civile, Breschia, Italy
J. R. M. Copeland
Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Human Ageing, University of Liverpool, Liverpool
M. J. Prince, Epidemiology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WCIE 7HT



In an 11-country European collaboration, 14 population-based surveys included 21 724 subjects aged ⩾65 years. Most participating centres used the Geriatric Mental State (GMS), but other measures were also used.


To derive from these instruments a common depression symptoms scale, the EURO–D, to allow comparison of risk factor profiles between centres.


Common items were identified from the instruments. Algorithms for fitting items to GMS were derived by observation of item correspondence or expert opinion. The resulting 12-item scale was checked for internal consistency, criterion validity and uniformity of factor-analytic profile.


The EURO–D is internally consistent, capturing the essence of its parent instrument. A two-factor solution seemed appropriate: depression, tearfulness and wishing to die loaded on the first factor (affective suffering), and loss of interest, poor concentration and lack of enjoyment on the second (motivation)


The EURO–D scale should permit valid comparison of risk-factor associations between centres, even if between-centre variation remains difficult to attribute.

Eurodep Study
Copyright © 1999 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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Declaration of interest

The European Commission BIOMEDI initiative funded this Concerted Action Programme.


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