Interformat reliability of the patient health questionnaire: Validation of the computerized version of the PHQ-9

Doris Erbe*, Hans Christoph Eichert, Christian Rietz, David Ebert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Computerized versions of well-established measurements such as the PHQ-9 are widely used, but data on the comparability of psychometric properties are scarce. Objective: Our objective was to compare the interformat reliability of the paper-and-pen version with a computerized version of the PHQ-9 in a clinical sample. Methods: 130 participants with mental health disorders were recruited during psychotherapeutic treatment in a mental health clinic. In a crossover design, they all completed the PHQ-9 in both the computerized and paper-and-pen versions in randomized order. Results: The internal consistency was comparable for the computer (α = 0.88) and paper versions (α = 0.89), and highly significant correlations were found between the formats (r = 0.92). PHQ-9 total scores were not significantly different between the paper and the computer delivered versions. There was a significant interaction effect between format and order of administration for the PHQ-9, indicating that the first administration delivered slightly higher scores. Limitations: In order to reduce the required effort for the participants, we did not ask them to fill out anything but the PHQ-9 once in paper and once in computer version. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the PHQ-9 can be transferred to computerized use without affecting psychometric properties in a clinically meaningful way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalInternet Interventions
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Computer
  • Depression
  • Interformat reliability
  • Internet
  • PHQ-9
  • Psychometric
  • Questionnaire


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