Short Depression Interview (SDI)


Short Depression Interview (SDI) 

Author: Berend Terluin, MD, PhD

The Short Depression Interview (SDI) is an interview designed for primary care physicians to diagnose major depression according to the DSM-IV criteria.1 Also, the SDI is suitable to diagnose major depression ("ernstige depressie") according to the criteria of the Dutch College of General Practitioners (Nederlands Huisartsengenootschap; NHG).2

The SDI assesses the nine symptom criteria and three of the four additional criteria for the DSM-IV diagnosis of major depression. The SDI consists of 16 obligatory and 31 facultative questions to be answered by the patient. Furthermore, the SDI contains five questions for the physician to assess three additional DSM-IV criteria (‘significant distress or impairment’, ‘not due to substance or disease’, and ‘not entirely due to bereavement’). The fourth additional DSM-IV criterion (‘no mixed episode’) has been left out, because manic manifestations rarely present diagnostic problems in general practice. The SDI takes 3-7 minutes to complete.

The SDI has been developed by a study group of 12 general practitioners, and tested in the primary care setting. The SDI has been found to have a good reliability (test-retest kappa 0.63 for DSM-IV major depression, and kappa 0.71 for NHG major depression).3 The NHG-diagnosis is based on the nine symptom criteria only, and ignores the additional criteria. The SDI has been compared to self-report depression measures. The criterion validity of the SDI compared to a standardized psychiatric interview remains to be established.3

The SDI can be used both in clinical practice, as well as in research.

The SDI is freely available for use in clinical practice and research, both in an English and in a Dutch version. We would appreciate it when potential SDI-users state their name, profession, address and intended use of the SDI. Please, contact the author if you have any questions about the SDI.


1 APA. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. DSM-IV. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1994.

2 Van Marwijk HWJ, Grundmeijer HGLM, Brueren MM, et al. NHG-Standaard Depressie. [Dutch College of General Practitioners Guidelines on Depression.] Huisarts Wet 1994;37:482-90.

3 Terluin B, Van Hout HPJ, Van Marwijk HWJ, Adèr HJ, Van der Meer K, De Haan M, Van Dyck R. Reliability and validity of the assessment of depression in general practice: the Short Depression Interview (SDI). Gen Hosp Psychiatry, accepted for publication.


Download the SDI [In English or in Dutch]


[last modifed: 11-Apr-2015]