Haitian screening tool for depression | Transcultural Psychiatry
“This study is the first attempt to develop a brief screening measure in Haitian Creole that indicates caseness for depression and is specific to Haitians living in Haiti. The combined emic-etic approach privileges the knowledge of Haitians sought out by individuals in distress while at the same time drawing upon the depression research base.”
Developing mental health care capacity in post-earthquake Haiti is hampered by the lack of assessments that include culturally bound idioms Haitians use when discussing emotional distress. The current paper describes a novel emic-etic approach to developing a depression screening for Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante. In Study 1 Haitian key informants were asked to classify symptoms and describe categories within a pool of symptoms of common mental disorders. Study 2 tested the symptom set that best approximated depression in a sample of depressed and not depressed Haitians in order to select items for the screening tool. The resulting 13-item instrument produced scores with high internal reliability that were sensitive to culturally informed diagnoses, and interpretations with construct and concurrent validity (vis-à-vis functional impairment). Discussion focuses on the appropriate use of this tool and integrating emic perspectives into developing psychological assessments globally.
The screening tool is provided as an Appendix to the article.