Most people have taken some type of personality or career test, and while some are accurate, others are completely off in their results. Depending on your experience with tests, you might even come to the conclusion that they’re useless and inaccurate. However, tests are sometimes used in the mental health field to help diagnose and treat patients.
There are all different types of tests for psychological conditions such as depression, and many are reviewed and tested by mental health professionals to ensure accuracy and usefulness. There are even short questionnaires available for screening purposes. However, not all tests have been scrutinized under the same standards.
Russell Hyken, an educational diagnostician at Educational and Psychotherapy Services, LLC, said in an email that it’s important for anyone to be discerning when it comes to tests like those that help diagnose depression.
“An assessment that has been well researched, peer reviewed, and has documented accuracy would, of course, be very helpful,” Hyken said. “I would proceed with caution when taking a quiz in a magazine or online. It may have an ulterior motive and false positively identify you as depressed.”
The Internet makes it easier to access some depression screening tests, although these tests aren't necessarily accurate. For example, Mental Health America’s website has a depression screening quiz, but it also has a disclaimer stating that an official diagnosis should be done by a mental health professional. There are 10 questions, all pertaining to symptoms of depression.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance website also has a screening test for depression. There are 16 questions, and the website has a disclaimer stating that “this screening is not a substitute for professional care.” There is also a note at the bottom stating that “this screening form was developed from the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report (QIDS-SR).”