Evaluating a Computerized Depression Screening Tool with an American Indian and Alaska Native Sample

Major depression is a significant health concern affecting approximately 14.8 million adults in the United States each year and is commonly undetected in primary care settings. This study evaluated the use of the Voice-Interactive Depression Assessment System (VIDAS) with a sample of 100 (70 females and 30 males) American Indians and Alaska Natives adults from a primary care organization in a rural area of California. The following depression measures were administered in random order: VIDAS, the paper-and-pencil version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), the paper-and-pencil version of the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9); followed by the Computer Aversion Scale (CAVS) and the Preference for Mode of Administration Questionnaire (PMAQ). The results revealed that VIDAS demonstrated equivalence of test formats (computerized and paper-and-pencil), strong inter-item reliability, and convergent validity. In addition, VIDAS was generally acceptable to participants, and participants did not have a test format preference. These findings suggest that a computerized voice interactive depression screening tool is a viable alternative to traditional screening tools in a rural health care setting. Offering a psychometrically sound assessment alternative that clients find acceptable can aid primary care providers in detecting clients who may be experiencing depression. Overall, the implications for the study are promising and can lead to the further development of appropriate screening tools.