Psychological Medicine

Brief Communication

The internal and external validity of the Major Depression Inventory in measuring severity of depressive states

L. R. OLSEN a1c1, D. V. JENSEN a1, V. NOERHOLM a1, K. MARTINY a1 and P. BECH a1
a1 Psychiatric Research Unit, Frederiksborg General Hospital, Hillerød; and Department of Rheumatology, Hoersholm General Hospital, Hoersholm, Denmark


Background. We have developed the Major Depression Inventory (MDI), consisting of 10 items, covering the DSM-IV as well as the ICD-10 symptoms of depressive illness. We aimed to evaluate this as a scale measuring severity of depressive states with reference to both internal and external validity.

Method. Patients representing the score range from no depression to marked depression on the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D) completed the MDI. Both classical and modern psychometric methods were applied for the evaluation of validity, including the Rasch analysis.

Results. In total, 91 patients were included. The results showed that the MDI had an adequate internal validity in being a unidimensional scale (the total score an appropriate or sufficient statistic). The external validity of the MDI was also confirmed as the total score of the MDI correlated significantly with the HAM-D (Pearson's coefficient 0·86, P[less-than-or-eq, slant]0·01, Spearman 0·80, P[less-than-or-eq, slant]0·01).

Conclusion. When used in a sample of patients with different states of depression the MDI has an adequate internal and external validity.

c1 Address for correspondence to: Dr Lis Raabaek Olsen, Psychiatric Research Unit, Frederiksborg General Hospital, DK-3400 Hillerød, Denmark.