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Screening for serious mental illness in the general population with the K6 screening scale: results from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) survey initiative


Kessler, RC and Green, JG and Gruber, MJ and Sampson, NA and Bromet, E and Cuitan, M and Furukawa, TA and Gureje, O and Hinkov, H and Hu, CY and Lara, C and Lee, S and Mneimneh, Z and Myer, L and Oakley-Browne, M and Posada-Villa, J and Sagar, R and Viana, MC and Zaslavsky, AM, Screening for serious mental illness in the general population with the K6 screening scale: results from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) survey initiative, International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 19, (Supplement 1) pp. 4-22. ISSN 1049-8931 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1002/mpr.310


Data are reported on the background and performance of the K6 screening scale for serious mental illness (SMI) in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. The K6 is a six-item scale developed to provide a brief valid screen for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition (DSM-IV) SMI based on the criteria in the US ADAMHA Reorganization Act. Although methodological studies have documented good K6 validity in a number of countries, optimal scoring rules have never been proposed. Such rules are presented here based on analysis of K6 data in nationally or regionally representative WMH surveys in 14 countries (combined N = 41,770 respondents). Twelve-month prevalence of DSM-IV SMI was assessed with the fully-structured WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Nested logistic regression analysis was used to generate estimates of the predicted probability of SMI for each respondent from K6 scores, taking into consideration the possibility of variable concordance as a function of respondent age, gender, education, and country. Concordance, assessed by calculating the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, was generally substantial (median 0.83; range 0.76–0.89; inter-quartile range 0.81–0.85). Based on this result, optimal scaling rules are presented for use by investigators working with the K6 scale in the countries studied.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:K6 screening scale;psychiatric epidemiology;serious mental illness (SMI)
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Oakley-Browne, M (Professor Mark Oakley Browne)
ID Code:65321
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:757
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2010-11-03
Last Modified:2011-04-19

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