Goldberg depression test: features and functions

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world; in addition, it can also become one of the most disabling. A person with depression has lost hope of enjoying life again.

There are several psychological tests that assess depression; But, today we are going to focus on the Goldberg depression test, Which is a screening tool to detect the presence of depressive symptoms (not a diagnostic tool).

    Goldberg depression test: features

    The Goldberg Depression Test is a psychological test, as the name suggests, intended to determine whether or not there are symptoms of depression (This is an orientation or screening test, not a diagnosis).

    Also known as the Goldberg Depression Inventory; is a test consisting of 18 questions, which provide immediate information on the level of depression experienced by the person being assessed or the patient.

    It was designed by Dr. Ivan K. Goldberg, American psychiatrist. The Goldberg Depression Test is a simple self-administered screening or screening test for depression.


    The questions follow a Likert-style format with six answer options each, always the same: “not at all”, “a little”, “sometimes”, “moderately”, “quite” and “a lot”. The questions or statements to be answered by the assessor are of the type: “I am having difficulty making decisions”, or “The fun and happiness seem to have disappeared in my life”.

    By answering questions, the assessor must respond by taking into account what he has experienced, as well as his mood, During the last seven days. In other words, you will have to focus only on that particular period.


      When it comes to the results of Goldberg’s depression test, we have to be careful because the test will provide us with purely indicative results, never a diagnosis. Therefore, if moderate or severe depression is suspected, you will need to go to a specialist or doctor to make the relevant referral.


      Goldberg’s depression test, moreover, can be used not only as a diagnostic screening, but also as a monitoring tool, to check patient progress throughout the sessions.

      It is known that a variation of 5% of the results can represent both a symptom of improvement and of worsening.

      Goldberg questionnaire: also for anxiety

      Goldberg also developed a comprehensive questionnaire, which also included an anxiety scale; the so-called Goldberg questionnaire or Goldberg scale (EADG). This questionnaire consists of two completely independent scales, one for anxiety and one for depression.

      The questionnaire has very high sensitivity and specificity values, which is why it is widely used for healthcare and epidemiological purposes, as well as as a screening tool and as a guide to guide the clinical interview in care. primary.


      Each of the Goldberg Depression Test subscales (depression test and anxiety test) is administered simultaneously, and is structured into 4 initial items that help determine if a mental disorder is likely or not, And in 5 secondary items which are only formulated if positive responses are obtained to the first 4 items (2 or more on the anxiety subscale, 1 or more on the depression subscale).

      Questions and cut-off points

      Questions 1 to 9 correspond to the anxiety subscale and questions 10 to 18 correspond to the depression subscale. The first 4 questions of each subscale (questions 1 to 4) and (questions 10 to 13) respectively, are the prerequisite for determining whether to answer the remaining questions.

      Thus, if at least 2 questions are answered in the affirmative from questions 1 to 4, the rest of the first subscale should not be answered, while in the second subscale, it suffices to answer affirmatively to a question from 10 to 13 to continue answering the rest.

      The thresholds of the anxiety scale is 4 (or more) and for depression is 2 (or more).

      Bibliographical references:

      • Arrieta, KM, Dies, S., and González, F. (2014). Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Young Students: Prevalence and Related Factors. REV Clin MED FAM, 7 (1): 14-22.
      • Balance, S., Morales, I, Guerrero, J and Conesa, A. (2008). Reliability and validity of a questionnaire to measure in university students the association of anxiety and depression with academic and psychosocial factors during the 2004-2005 school year. Rev Esp Public Health, 2 (82): 189-200.
      • Garcia, C. (1999). Goldberg’s General Health Questionnaire User Manual: Cuban Adaptation. Cuban Journal of Integral General Medicine, 15 (1), 88-97.
      • Goldberg D, Bridges K, Duncan-Jones P, Grayson D. Detection of anxiety and depression in general medical settings. Br Med J. 1988; 297 (6653): 897-915.

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