Document Type



Institute for Human Development


Background: Depression remains under-investigated in people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa due to paucity of adequately validated measures. This study aimed to validate an adapted version of the 9-item Pa- tient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) among adults living with HIV compared to those from the community in Kilifi, Kenya.

Methods: Analysis of data from 450 adults living with HIV and 337 adults from the community was conducted examining the reliability, factorial structure, measurement invariance and discriminant validity of interviewer- administered PHQ-9, Swahili version.

Results: Internal consistency of the Swahili PHQ-9 was good overall, in adults living with HIV and those from the community (Macdonald’s omega > 0.80). The two-week test-retest reliability was acceptable among adults living with HIV ( ICC = 0.64). A one-factor confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) model indicated the Swahili PHQ-9 was unidimensional in the overall sample, in adults living with HIV and those from the community. Multi-group CFA substantiated measurement invariance of this unidimensional scale across participant group (adults living with HIV vs. community), sex (females vs. males) and age category (young, middle-age and elderly adults). The Swahili PHQ-9 exhibited good discriminant validity between the two participant groups. Limitations: No diagnostic interview for mental disorders was administered in the original studies limiting analysis of sensitivity and specificity of the Swahili PHQ-9.

Conclusion: The Swahili PHQ-9 is a reliable and valid unidimensional scale. It appears a valuable tool for assessing depressive symptoms that can be generalized across different demographic groups, in primary HIV clinics and the general community within this and similar settings.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Affective Disorders Reports

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Public Health Commons