Depression Prediction Assessment Now Online

A tool with good potential for predicting depression, called “predictD,” is now online for use by anyone who has a computer and an Internet connection. Although there are many depression assessments on the web, this is the only one based on empirical research of a depression-assessment algorithm for predicting the issue. Participating researchers believe the tool can be used by medical practitioners. The research study included 5,216 study participants in England, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Estonia, and another 1,732 in Chile.

The 39-question instrument was tested on adults who were not depressed at the time and included age, physical health, and family history of psychological problems. Over 85% of participants remained in the study and were evaluated for depression. The researchers reported significantly positive results, similar to those found with the algorithm developed in Europe for prediction of cardiovascular events that is now used widely.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the number of years lived with depression, is greater than with any other disability worldwide. They say it’s the fourth-leading cause of premature death and loss of productivity, and expected to be the second by 2020. Depression can become disabling when eating, sleeping, with self-care, concentration, and other activities of life.

One of the primary researchers, professor Michael King, University College London, Department of Mental Health Sciences, said “recognition of those at risk could help with watchful waiting or active support, such as restarting treatment in patients with a history of depression. Patients could also be advised on the nature of depression or on cognitive behavior therapies to help reduce their risk of developing major depression.”

Further randomized trials are planned for Europe. The project’s investigators hope to test it in China, too.

© Copyright 2008 by Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD, MSW. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Dr. Arthur Becker-Weidman

    December 8th, 2008 at 5:39 PM

    Thanks for a very interesting and useful article.

    How does this related to the Beck Depression Inventory…which has
    reasonable reliability and validity, and is pretty easy to administer and score?


  • Mathew

    December 9th, 2008 at 1:33 AM

    Does this tool simply divulge if the person is depressed or has a tendency for depression or does it also analyse the degree to which one is depressed. Depending on the analysis, are there suggestions for what kind of therapy to follow?

  • jeni

    December 9th, 2008 at 2:53 AM

    I agree that this is a very useful article and appreciate you listing it here. Maybe this will help a lot of people who may have depression and notice the signs and seek help

  • Mica

    December 9th, 2008 at 2:54 AM

    I plan on checking out this website. That is a disturbing factor above that depression is the 4th leading cause in premature death. I didn’t realize it was that high on the list. And to predict that it may be the 2nd by 2020 is more alarming.

  • Oliver

    December 9th, 2008 at 3:51 AM

    This really could be a great tool when administered and read the right way, but I do have to say that I am always a little concerned when it comes to the general public and self diagnosis. However this could end up being quite effective for some who know they have a problem and when they see the results could encourage them to seek the help they need.

  • Cheri

    December 10th, 2008 at 3:58 AM

    I hope that this resource is one which will be utilized and get people who have depression to get treated.

  • Brandee

    December 11th, 2008 at 3:14 AM

    I think this is a very useful article and although it shouldn’t be used to self diagnose a situation like depression, it sure gives us the tools we need to help notice the signs and get help.

  • Maggie

    December 11th, 2008 at 4:04 AM

    Is there anyone out there who is concerned that this might not necessarily be such a good thing? I am glad that we all now have access to some of the best resources on the web but I am never too pleased when people try to diagnose and treat themselves based on info that they find on the internet. I think this can be irresponsible at best and honestly that it may actually keep some people from seeking the outside treatment that they need. They may simply think that this is something that will pass and in many cases this is just not true. I think that this can be great as an initial step toward recovery, but certainly not intended to be used as the only step. I am trying not to be critical because I do think that good intent with the tool is there and that it can be useful, but not the end all and be all.

  • Bethany

    December 13th, 2008 at 12:45 PM

    How can any test online be considered a reliable predictor when there are so many things that can be faked that way?

  • Travis

    December 15th, 2008 at 4:33 AM

    Are there any links on the site that will tell you where you can go to get help if indeed you do show signs of depression given the results of the test?

  • Dr. Arthur Becker-Weidman

    December 16th, 2008 at 4:44 AM

    Yes, actually this site is a great resource if you are looking for a therapist in your area. I’d check out the listings here as a first step.


  • Shannon

    December 16th, 2008 at 4:11 AM

    Travis I think that is a totally valid point. What if you take the test and all of the signs point to depression yet you atill have no idea of where to go to get help? That could be scary

  • Austin

    December 17th, 2008 at 4:48 PM

    I have not looked at the site. Is it a predictor of a current situation or a predictor of what could potentially happen to you in the future given your answers?

  • whatchamacallit

    June 12th, 2009 at 1:17 AM

    Well written post. Over time I recovered from depression but it took medication, counseling and also a lot of personal development. Are there any good forums you would recommend?

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