Developing a common metric for depression across adulthood: Linking PROMIS depression with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

Courtney K. Blackwell*, Xiaodan Tang, Amy J. Elliott, Tracy Thomes, Hannah Louwagie, Richard Gershon, Benjamin D. Schalet, David Cella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Depression is a leading mental health concern across the U.S. and worldwide. There are myriad assessments to evaluate depressive symptoms, including the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), which is widely used to evaluate women’s pre- and postnatal depression but not as prevalent at other timepoints in adulthood, limiting its utility for longitudinal research. As part of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Research Program, the current study sought to develop a common metric so that scores on the EPDS can be converted to the standardized Patient-Reported Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) T-score metric. Drawing on data from the ECHO—Prenatal Alcohol in SIDS and Stillbirth cohort, this study used a single-group linking design, where 1,263 mothers completed the EPDS and PROMIS-Depression measures at the same time. Score linking was conducted using equipercentile and item response theory (IRT) methods. Results showed both linking methods provide robust, congruent results, and subgroup invariance held across age, race, ethnicity, education, and geographic location. The IRT-based unidimensional fixed-parameter calibration was selected due to its model simplicity, and a crosswalk table was established to convert scores from the EPDS to PROMIS T-scores. Overall, this study provides a way to aggregate data across various depression measures and timepoints, such that researchers and clinicians now have the ability to directly compare and combine EPDS data with PROMIS and other depression measures already score-linked to PROMIS. This study provides a way for researchers and clinicians to combine and compare data from two commonly-used measures of adult depression. Using the crosswalk table generated through this research, scores on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale can now be converted to the same T-score metric as the Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement System (PROMIS®) Depression measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-618
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological assessment
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 31 2021


  • ECHO
  • depression
  • item response theory (IRT)
  • pregnancy and postpartum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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