Introduction The 30-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-30) and the shorter GDS-15, GDS-5 and GDS-4 are recommended as depression screening tools for elderly individuals. Existing meta-analyses on the diagnostic accuracy of the GDS have not been able to conduct subgroup analyses, have included patients already identified as depressed who would not be screened in practice and have not accounted for possible bias due to selective reporting of results from only better-performing cut-offs in primary studies. Individual participant data meta-analysis (IPDMA), which involves a standard systematic review, then a synthesis of individual participant data, rather than summary results, could address these limitations. The objective of our IPDMA is to generate accuracy estimates to detect major depression for all possible cut-offs of each version of the GDS among studies using different reference standards, separately and among participant subgroups based on age, sex, dementia diagnosis and care settings. In addition, we will use a modelling approach to generate individual participant probabilities for major depression based on GDS scores (rather than a dichotomous cut-off) and participant characteristics (eg, sex, age, dementia status, care setting). Methods and analysis Individual participant data comparing GDS scores to a major depression diagnosis based on a validated structured or semistructured diagnostic interview will be sought via a systematic review. Data sources will include Medline, Medline In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, PsycINFO and Web of Science. Bivariate random-effects models will be used to estimate diagnostic accuracy parameters for each cut-off of the different versions of the GDS. Prespecified subgroup analyses will be conducted. Risk of bias will be assessed with the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2 tool. Ethics and dissemination The findings of this study will be of interest to stakeholders involved in research, clinical practice and policy. PROSPERO registration number CRD42018104329.
- geriatric depression scale
- individual participant data meta-analysis