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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


NAVARRETE, Laura; NIETO, Lourdes; LARA, Ma. Asunción  and  LARA, Ma. del Carmen. Sensitivity and specificity of the three Whooley and Arroll questions for detecting perinatal depression in Mexican women. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2019, vol.61, n.1, pp.27-34.  Epub Jan 01, 2019. ISSN 0036-3634.


To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the Two Whooley questions and the Arroll question, using the SCID, The Structured Clinical Interview (SCID-I) as the gold standard for detecting perinatal depression.

Materials and methods:

We interviewed 210 women during pregnancy and 6 months postpartum.


The criterion with the greatest sensitivity was responding positively to either Whooley question (pregnancy= 94.7 %; postpartum=100.0%), while the most specific criterion was responding positively to the two Whooley questions plus the Arroll question (Pregnancy=90.0% Postpartum = 85.7%).


The Whooley and Arroll questions have adequate psychometric properties to detect possible cases of depression during the perinatal period. They can be applied during prenatal check-ups and postpartum consultations. Timely detection of women at risk of perinatal depression can contribute to their treatment for reducing their adverse consequences in mothers and infants.

Keywords : depression postpartum; screening; sensitivity and specificity; primary healthcare.

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