First of its kind culturally sensitive depression screening tool

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The first of its kind culturally acceptable screening tool for depression among older living Indigenous Australians in remote areas has been developed. 

"This new tool has been modified from the commonly used depression risk assessment tool Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)," said Winthrop Professor Leon Flicker of The University of Western Australia.

"We have adapted this tool by re-wording and translating some of the questions to align with Indigenous cultural norms.  We then validated the instrument amongst remote living Indigenous communities."

The tool was endorsed via a cross-sectional survey of adults aged 45 years or over from six remote Indigenous communities in the Kimberley.  Thirty per cent of adults were in Derby.  It has been named Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment of Depression (KICA-dep) after the place where it was developed.

"The KICA-dep has robust psychometric properties and can be used with confidence as a screening tool for depression among older Indigenous Australians," said UWA's Winthrop Professor Osvaldo Almeida.

"We anticipate that this tool will be very useful to medical professionals and others who work with remote Aboriginal Australians and have made the tool freely available and at no charge via our website."

The 11 linguistic and culturally sensitive items of the Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment of Depression (KICA-dep) scale were derived from the signs and symptoms required to establish the diagnosis of a depressive episode according to the commonly used psychiatric assessment tools (DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 criteria), and their frequency was rated on a 4-point scale ranging from ‘never' to ‘all the time'.

The diagnosis of depressive disorder was established after a face-to-face assessment with a consultant psychiatrist. Other measures included socio-demographic and lifestyle factors, and clinical history.

A paper on the tool was published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

The Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment of Depression (KICA-dep) was a sub-project of the ‘Kimberley Healthy Ageing Project'.  The study included 250 men and women aged 46 to 89 years.

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