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Screening tools for common mental disorders in older adults in South Asia: A systematic scoping review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lachlan Fotheringham, Dr Stella Paddick, Dr Lynn Barron-MillarORCiD, Dr Claire Norman, Professor Richard Walker


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© International Psychogeriatric Association 2021.Objectives: Common mental disorders (CMDs), particularly depression, are major contributors to the global mental health burden. South Asia, while diverse, has cultural, social, and economic challenges, which are common across the region, not least an aging population. This creates an imperative to better understand how CMD affects older people in this context, which relies on valid and culturally appropriate screening and research tools. This review aims to scope the availability of CMD screening tools for older people in South Asia. As a secondary aim, this review will summarize the use of these tools in epidemiology, and the extent to which they have been validated or adapted for this population. Design: A scoping review was performed, following PRISMA guidelines. The search strategy was developed iteratively in Medline and translated to Embase, PsychInfo, Scopus, and Web of Science. Data were extracted from papers in which a tool was used to identify CMD in a South Asian older population (50+), including validation, adaptation, and use in epidemiology. Validation studies meeting the criteria were critically appraised using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies - version 2 (QUADAS-2) tool. Results: Of the 4694 papers identified, 176 met the selection criteria at full-text screening as relevant examples of diagnostic or screening tool use. There were 15 tool validation studies, which were critically appraised. Of these, 10 were appropriate to evaluate as diagnostic tests. All of these tools assessed for depression. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)-based tools were predominant with variable diagnostic accuracy across different settings. Methodological issues were substantial based on the QUADAS-2 criteria. In the epidemiological studies identified (n = 160), depression alone was assessed for 82% of the studies. Tools lacking cultural validation were commonly used (43%). Conclusions: This review identifies a number of current research gaps including a need for culturally relevant validation studies, and attention to other CMDs such as anxiety.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fotheringham L, Paddick S-M, Barron Millar E, Norman C, Lukose A, Walker R, Varghese M

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Psychogeriatrics

Year: 2022

Volume: 34

Issue: 5

Pages: 427-438

Print publication date: 01/05/2022

Online publication date: 08/01/2021

Acceptance date: 09/10/2020

ISSN (print): 1041-6102

ISSN (electronic): 1741-203X

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1041610220003804