Psychometric Properties of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 in Peruvian University Students



university students, depression, validity, reliability, PHQ-9


Changes that occurred in people’s lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected the mental health of the universities, where an increase in symptoms of depression was reported since the beginning of the pandemic, so its evaluation is essential in this context. Therefore, the objective of this study was to analyze the psychometric properties of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) in Peruvian university students. A total of 409 university students between 16 and 45 years of age participated (female = 72.9%; Mage = 22.15; SDage = 3.75). The PHQ-9 and the Emotional Exhaustion Scale (EES) were used. A series of confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to evaluate structures suggested by previous studies, namely a one factor model, a two correlated factor model and a bi-factor model. We found evidence of a one-dimensional structure, both from factor analysis and item response theory, and a positive association with academic emotional exhaustion. Moreover, construct reliability and score reliability reached high magnitudes. Therefore, the PHQ-9 is an instrument with adequate psychometric properties to be used as a measure of depression in university students in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.