Validation of a Chichewa version of the self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ) as a brief screening measure for maternal depressive disorder in Malawi, Africa

Robert C Stewart, Felix Kauye, Eric Umar, Maclean Vokhiwa, James Bunn, Margaret Fitzgerald, Barbara Tomenson, Atif Rahman, Francis Creed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Depressive disorder affecting women during the perinatal period is common in low-income countries. The detection and study of maternal depression in a resource-poor setting requires a brief screening tool that is both accurate and practical to administer.

METHOD: A Chichewa version of the Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ) was developed through a rigorous process of forward and back translation, focus-group discussion and piloting. Criterion validation was conducted as part of a larger study in a sample of women who had brought their infants to a child health clinic in rural Malawi, using DSM-IV major and minor depressive episode as the gold standard diagnoses.

RESULTS: The criterion validation was conducted on 114 subjects who did not differ on health and sociodemographic characteristics from the total study sample (n=501). Test characteristics for each possible SRQ cut-off were calculated and Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves derived. Area under the ROC curve (AUROC) for detection of current major depressive disorder was 0.856 (95% CI 0.813 to 0.900), and for current major or minor depressive disorder was 0.826 (95% CI 0.783 to 0.869). Internal consistency of the SRQ was high (Cronbach's alpha 0.85).

LIMITATION: Inter-rater reliability testing was not conducted.

CONCLUSION: This Chichewa version of the SRQ shows utility as a brief screening measure for detection of probable maternal depression in rural Malawi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-34
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders (JAD)
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression, Postpartum/diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major/diagnosis
  • Developing Countries/statistics & numerical data
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Malawi/epidemiology
  • Mass Screening/methods
  • Personality Inventory/statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales/statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rural Population/statistics & numerical data
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Translating


Dive into the research topics of 'Validation of a Chichewa version of the self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ) as a brief screening measure for maternal depressive disorder in Malawi, Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this