WATCH 2011 Annual Meeting All-Access Right Here

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Research Poster: Email for Identifying Depressed College Students

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that email can be a good screening tool for identifying college students with depression. The study results were reported Monday, May 24, at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Researchers emailed a test survey that included some demographic information and common screening questions for depression – the Patient Health Questionnaire 9-Item, known as PHQ9. Out of 631 participants, 82 (or 14 percent) were screened positive for major depressive disorder. Those students were informed of the results and offered links to online information about depression and local treatment resources. The students identified were also sent a follow up survey eight weeks later and found only eight of about 40 students who responded to the follow up had used the resources provided.

Researchers concluded email is an effective and inexpensive way to screen college students for depression, but simply offering online information had limited effects on students’ help-seeking behavior. The research, part of the Young Investigators' Poster Session, was presented by Irene Shyu, B.A., of the Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Write press@psych.org for information about an online press briefing on this research and five other topics to be presented live from the APA Annual Meeting at 9 am CDT on Tuesday, May 25.

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