Evaluation of the SHIFT-Depression® Inventory With a Sample of Australian Women, Demonstrating the Centrality of Gendered Role Expectations to Their Depression


  • Helen C. Vidler


To address the double fold incidence and prevalence rates of depression in women compared to men needs more than symptom management. In primary health care where time does not normally allow for thorough assessments of what causes or maintains depression, using a brief questionnaire is warranted. A means must be found to address system level barriers to care and the poor quality of life so many women experience. Using an online survey and mixed method design, initial evaluation of a measure developed to identify individual and contextual issues connected to depression in women, examined underlying factor structure. 266 depressed women aged 18 to 85yrs also completed the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CESD) and provided written commentary about any further issues. The SHIFT-Depression® Inventory analysis revealed five reliable underlying factors explaining 59% of the variance. The factors identified were; 'diminished self/feels powerless/focused on other's care'; 'financial problems, lacks access to healthcare, healthy food, housing, exercise’; 'relationship difficulties, loss/betrayal/abuse’; ‘women’s problems’ and 'lack of social support/feels isolated'. Analysis of participant’s comments found four groupings similar to the identified factors. This initial evaluation of the SHIFT-Depression® Inventory showed evidence of the multiple issues impacting on depressed women spanning the physical, intrapsychic, relational, social and contextual areas. The inventory provides preliminary assessment which can identify when more extensive questioning and referrals to various services may be appropriate. It could be used in primary health care settings when consultation times are brief, or as an adjunct to assessment in the mental health setting.