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Depression Test – PHQ9

The Depression test is also called the PHQ9 test.

PHQ stands for Personal Health Questionnaire and the 9 refers to the number of questions that are used to determine the presence or absence of depression.

It was originally developed by Pfizer (the same organisation that produces the Coronavirus vaccine) but is now freely available for public use due to the copyright having expired.

Technically, the PHQ9 is a self-administered depression test meaning that the ‘patient’ answers the questions themselves and on the basis of the scoring system, gets an insight into what their responses might mean.

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Subjectivity & Objectivity in the Depression Test

It is important to be aware that the possible responses are subjective in nature and so the outcome is the result of subjectivity.

Unlike a blood test, which produces a definitive, or objective, result, self-administered tests are only as reliable as the responses that are given. Because of this, the results are NOT definitive, but only serve as an indication.

In fact, there is no objective test available to determine if a person has depression or not.

The biomedical models of mental illness which claim that depression is related to imbalances in the brain chemistry of sufferers has not be shown to be the cause of depression, only that people who are experiencing depression may show varying levels of serotonin.

In this sense, brain chemical imbalances are only an indicator that depression may be present rather than depression is the result of chemical imbalances!

Nevertheless, the PHQ9 depression test has found its way into the literature as a commonly used tool for indicating the presence of depression and in fact the NHS use this test, in conjunction with another test called the GAD7 anxiety test to determine the effectiveness of its IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services.

Test Validity

Although the test is limited by its subjective design, it has been measured for validity and has been found to be 88% sensitive with a specificity of 88% when the score is equal to or greater than 10.

Responding to the Questions

You must respond to all nine questions by asking yourself:

Over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?


1 / 9

Little interest or pleasure in doing things.

2 / 9

Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless.

3 / 9

Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much.

4 / 9

Feeling tired or having little energy.

5 / 9

Poor appetite or overeating.

6 / 9

Feeling bad about yourself – or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down.

7 / 9

Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television.

8 / 9

Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed. Or the opposite – being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual.

9 / 9

Thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself in some way.

Your score is


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Arrange a FREE initial consultation

If you’ve taken the PHQ9 depression test and would like to find out more about overcoming or recovering from depression then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular problems and the potential solutions in a safe and confidential environment without you having to commit to any therapy or counselling going forward.

This consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet our therapists and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.

Call Paul on 07434 776125 or e-mail him on paul@leepsychology.com

Call Joan 0n 07434 776504 or e-mail her on joan@leepsychology.com

Contact Paul

You can contact Paul on:

07434 776125

or by e-mail at:


Contact Joan

You can contact Joan on:

07434 776504

or by e-mail at:



Hypnotherapist Joan Lee D. Hyp. MIAEBP

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Lee Psychology, Maypole House, Yew Tree Court, Wombourne, South Staffordshire, WV5 9JB.

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