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Psychiatry Investig > Volume 20(9); 2023 > Article
Psychiatry Investigation 2023;20(9):853-860.
DOI:    Published online September 19, 2023.
Validation of the Patient Health Questionnaire–9 and Patient Health Questionnaire–2 in the General Korean Population
Minah Kim1,2  , Sanghyup Jung3  , Jee Eun Park1,2  , Jee Hoon Sohn1,4  , Su Jeong Seong5  , Byung-Soo Kim6  , Sung Man Chang6  , Jin Pyo Hong7  , Bong-Jin Hahm1,3,8  , Chan-Woo Yeom9 
1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
4Public Healthcare Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
5Department of Psychiatry, Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
6Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Republic of Korea
7Department of Psychiatry, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
8Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, Medical Research Center, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
9Department of Psychiatry, Uijeongbu Eulji Medical Center, Eulji University School of Medicine, Uijeonbu, Republic of Korea
Correspondence: Chan-Woo Yeom ,Tel: +82-31-951-2379, Fax: +82-31-951-1093, Email:,
Received: April 1, 2023   Revised: May 26, 2023   Accepted: June 30, 2023   Published online: September 19, 2023
The Patient Health Questionnaire–9 (PHQ-9) and PHQ-2 have not been validated in the general Korean population. This study aimed to validate and identify the optimal cutoff scores of the PHQ-9 and PHQ-2 in screening for major depression in the general Korean population.
We used data from 6,022 participants of the Korean Epidemiological Catchment Area Study for Psychiatric Disorders in 2011. Major depression was diagnosed according to the Korean Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Validity, reliability, and receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were performed using the results of the PHQ-9 and Euro Quality of life-5 dimension (EQ-5d).
Of the 6,022 participants, 150 were diagnosed with major depression (2.5%). Both PHQ-9 and PHQ-2 demonstrated relatively high reliability and their scores were highly correlated with the “anxiety/depression” score of the EQ-5d. The optimal cutoff score of the PHQ-9 was 5, with a sensitivity of 89.9%, specificity of 84.1%, positive predictive value (PPV) of 12.6%, negative predictive value (NPV) of 99.7%, positive likelihood ratio (LR+) of 5.6, and negative likelihood ratio (LR-) of 0.12. The optimal cutoff score of the PHQ-2 was 2, with a sensitivity of 85.3%, specificity of 83.2%, PPV of 11.6%, NPV of 99.5%, LR+ of 5.1, and LR- of 0.18.
The PHQ-9 and PHQ-2 are valid tools for screening major depression in the general Korean population, with suggested cutoff values of 5 and 2 points, respectively.
Key words   Depression; PHQ-9; PHQ-2; Screening; Cutoff; Korea


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