Clinical Neuroscience

Validation of the Hungarian PHQ-15. A latent variable approach

STAUDER Adrienne1, WITTHÖFT Michael2, KÖTELES Ferenc3

MAY 30, 2021

Clinical Neuroscience - 2021;74(05-06)


Journal Article

Somatic symptoms without a clear-cut organic or biomedical background, also called “medically unexplained” or “somatoform” symptoms, are frequent in primary and secondary health care. They are often accompanied by depression and/or anxiety, and cause functional impairment. The Patient Health Question­naire Somatic Symptom Scale (PHQ-15) was developed to measure somatic symptom distress based on the frequency and bothersomeness of non-specific somatic symptoms. The study aimed to (1) evaluate the Hungarian version of the PHQ-15 from a psychometric point of view; (2) replicate the bifactor structure and associations with negative affect described in the literature; and (3) provide the Hungarian clinical and scientific community with reference (normal) values split by sex and age groups. PHQ-15, depression (BDI-R), and subjective well-being (WHO-5) scores obtained from a large (n = 5020) and close to representative community sample (Hun­garostudy 2006) were subjected to correlation analysis and linear structural equation modeling. The PHQ-15 showed good internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = 0.810; McDonald’s ω = 0.819) and moderate to strong correlation with the BDI-R (rs = .49, p < 0.001) and WHO-5 (rs = -.48, p < 0.001). Fit of the bifactor structure was excellent; in independent analyses, the general factor was strongly associated with depression (β = 0.656±0.017, p < 0.001) and well-being (β = -0.575±0.015, p < 0.001), whereas the symptom specific factors were only weakly or not related to these constructs. The PHQ-15 score was higher in females and showed a weak positive association with age. The Hungarian PHQ-15 is a psychometrically sound scale which is positively associated with depression and ne­gatively related to subjective well-being. The bifactor structure indicates the existence and meaningfulness of a gene­ral factor representing the affective-motivational component of somatic symptom distress. The Hungarian version of the PHQ-15 is a brief and usable tool for the pre-screening of somatization disorder (DSM-IV) or somatic symptom disorder (DSM-5). The reported reference values can be used in the future for both clinical and research purposes.


  1. Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Semmelweis University, Hungary
  2. Department of Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Experimental Psychopathology, University of Mainz, Germany
  3. Institute of Health Promotion and Sport Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

Comparison of direct costs of percutaneous full-endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy and microdiscectomy: Results from Turkey

ÜNSAL Ünlü Ülkün, ŞENTÜRK Salim

Microdiscectomy (MD) is a stan­dard technique for the surgical treatment of lumbar disc herniation (LDH). Uniportal percutaneous full-endoscopic in­terlaminar lumbar discectomy (PELD) is another surgical op­tion that has become popular owing to reports of shorter hos­pitalization and earlier functional recovery. There are very few articles analyzing the total costs of these two techniques. The purpose of this study was to compare total hospital costs among microdiscectomy (MD) and uniportal percutaneous full-endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy (PELD). Forty patients aged between 22-70 years who underwent PELD or MD with different anesthesia techniques were divided into four groups: (i) PELD-local anesthesia (PELD-Local) (n=10), (ii) PELD-general anesthesia (PELD-General) (n=10), (iii) MD-spinal anesthesia (MD-Spinal) (n=10), (iv) MD-general anesthesia (MD-General) (n=10). Health care costs were defined as the sum of direct costs. Data were then analyzed based on anesthetic modality to produce a direct cost evaluation. Direct costs were compared statistically between MD and PELD groups. The sum of total costs was $1,249.50 in the PELD-Local group, $1,741.50 in the PELD-General group, $2,015.60 in the MD-Spinal group, and $2,348.70 in the MD-General group. The sum of total costs was higher in the MD-Spinal and MD-General groups than in the PELD-Local and PELD-General groups. The costs of surgical operation, surgical equipment, anesthesia (anesthetist’s costs), hospital stay, anesthetic drugs and materials, laboratory wor­kup, nur­sing care, and postoperative me­dication diffe­red significantly among the two main groups (PELD-MD) (p<0.01). This study demonstrated that PELD is less costly than MD.

Clinical Neuroscience

[A case of destructive cervical spondylarthropathy related to chronic dialysis]

BERTA Balázs, KOMÁROMY Hedvig, SCHWARCZ Attila, KAJTÁR Béla, BÜKI András, KUNCZ Ádám

[A case of a 61-year-old male patient suffered chronic renal failure and dialysed for 23 years with destructive cervical spondylarthropathy is presented. The patient presented with sudden onset of cervical pain radiating into his shoulders without neurological deficits. CT and MRI of the cervical and thoracic spine revealed severe destructive changes and compressive fractures of C6 and C7 vertebrae which caused the narrowing of the nerve root canals at these levels. A 360-degree fixation was performed to treat the unstable fracture and the patient’s pain (C6 and C7 corpectomy, autolog bone graft replacement of the two vertebral bodies, anterior plate fixation and posterior instrumentation with screws and rods). Postoperatively the patient had no significant pain, no neurological deficit and he was able to manage independent life himself. During the immediate follow-up CT of the neck showed the satisfactory position of the bone graft and the metal implantations. The 6 months follow-up CT revealed the anterior migration of the two screws from the Th1 vertebral body and 2 mm ventral elevation of the caudal end of the plate from the anterior surface of the Th1 vertebral body. The 1-year follow-up could not be performed because the patient died due to cardio-pulmonary insufficiency. This is the second Hungarian report of a chronic dialysis related severe spondylarthropathy which may cause pathologic fractures of the vertebral bodies. The typical radiological and histological findings are discussed. This disease affect patients’ quality of life and the conservative treatment alone seems to be ineffective in most cases. Based on the literature and personal experiences, the authors suggest 360-degree fixation of the spine to provide sufficient stability for the vertebrae of ”bad bone quality”, and early mobilisation of the patient can be achieved.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The questions of the treatment of Parkinson’s disease]

NAGY Ferenc

[Despite the continuous development of diagnosis and treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease and the arrival of new therapeutic options in recent years the treatment and care of people with Parkinson’s disease especially in the advanced stage remains a major challenge for neurologists specialized in movement disorders. The treatment of Parkinson’s disease is adversely affected by several factors: the disease progresses relentlessly, the symptoms and rate of progression, other concomitant non-motor symptoms, and the appearance of complications caused by treatment show great heterogeneity. Based on all these factors it is difficult to develop and apply a uniform routine therapeutic guideline. This summary seeks to shed light on aspects of the treatment of Parkinson’s disease particularly in advanced-stage cases drawing on data from a professional college recommendation and the literature.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Transcranial direct current stimulation in neuroscientific researches – pitfalls and solutions]

PESTHY Orsolya, JANACSEK Karolina, NÉMETH Dezső

[Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a promising brain stimulation tool which is non-invasive, easy to use and relatively cheap. Since it can change brain activity in a temporal manner, it can contribute to both clinical practice and neuroscientific research. However, the effectiveness of tDCS has been questioned considering the lack of full understanding of its mechanism of action and the seemingly contradictory results. In this review, we aim to provide a summary of potential problems and possible solutions. Our main focus is on the inter-individual differences in the effect of tDCS which can explain the noisy data, thus, controlling for them is important in order to show reliable results. This review is hoped to contribute to maximizing the potential of tDCS by helping future researchers to design replicable studies.]

Clinical Neuroscience

A new method to determine the optimal orientation of Slim Modiolar cochlear implant electrode array insertion

HORVÁTH Bence, PERÉNYI Ádám, MOLNÁR Fiona Anna, CSANÁDY Miklós, KISS József Géza, ROVÓ László

Our goal was to determine the optimal orientation of insertion of the Slim Modiolar electrode and develop an easy-to-use method to aid implantation surgery. In some instances, the electrode arrays cannot be inserted in their full length. This can lead to buckling, interscalar dislocation or tip fold-over. In our opinion, one of the possible reasons of tip fold-over is unfavourable orientation of the electrode array. Our goal was to determine the optimal orientation of the Slim Modiolar electrode array relative to clear surgical landmarks and present our method in one specified case. For the measurement, we used the preoperative CT scan of one of our cochlear implant patients. These images were processed by an open source and free image visualization software: 3D Slicer. In the first step we marked the tip of the incus short process and then created the cochlear view. On this view we drew two straight lines: the first line represented the insertion guide of the cochlear implant and the second line was the orientation marker (winglet). We determined the angle enclosed by winglet and the line between the tip of the incus short process and the cross-section of previously created two lines. For the calculation we used a self-made python code. The result of our algorithm for the angle was 46.6055°. To validate this result, we segmented, from the CT scan, the auditory ossicles and the membranaceous labyrinth. From this segmentation we generated a 3D reconstruction. On the 3D view, we can see the position of the previous lines relative to the anatomical structures. After this we rotated the 3D model together with the lines so that the insertion guide forms a dot. In this view, the angle was measured with ImageJ and the result was 46.599°. We found that our method is easy, fast, and time-efficient. The surgery can be planned individually for each patient, based on their routine preoperative CT scan of the temporal bone, and the implantation procedure can be made safer. In the future we plan to use this method for all cochlear implantation surgeries, where the Slim Modiolar electrode is used.

All articles in the issue

Related contents

Journal of Nursing Theory and Practice

[Burnout and depression among healthcare nursing staff]


[The aim was to assess the levels of burnout and depressive symptoms among nursing staff members. We designed an online questionnaire for the present cross-sectional study, which was filled out by 10 285 participants between 01-27-2022 and 02-14-2022. The mean score of burnout showed a decrease compared to the score measured in 2021; however, the percent of nursing staff members suffering from burnout is still high (64.4%), from which 42% indicates severe burnout which would requires treatment. Concerning depressive symptoms, 57.8% of participants did not indicate the presence of depression, the rest presented different levels of depressive symptoms (6.8% showed severe depressive symptoms). Currently patients’ chance of recovery is under the expected level of what our healthcare system could provide, which is partially due to the affected mental state of healthcare nursing staff.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Comparison of pramipexole versus ropinirole in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

GENCLER Onur Serdar , OZTEKIN Nese , OZTEKIN Fevzi Mehmet

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor and non-motor symptoms. Levodopa is the most effective drug in the symptomatic treatment of the disease. Dopamine receptor agonists provide sustained dopamin-ergic stimulation and have been found to delay the initiation of levodopa treatment and reduce the frequency of various motor complications due to the long-term use of levodopa. The primary aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of potent nonergoline dopamine agonists pramipexole and ropinirole in both “dopamine agonist monotherapy group” and “levodopa add-on therapy group” in Parkinson’s disease. The secondary aims were to evaluate the effects of these agents on depression and the safety of pramipexole and ropinirole. A total of 44 patients aged between 36 and 80 years who were presented to the neurology clinic at Ministry of Health Diskapi Yildirim Beyazit Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey and were diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, were included into this randomized parallel-group clinical study. Dopamine agonist monotherapy and levodopa add-on therapy patients were randomized into two groups to receive either pramipexole or ropinirole. The maximum daily dosages of pramipexole and ropinirole were 4.5 mg and 24 mg respectively. Patients were followed for 6 months and changes on Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, Clinical Global Impression-severity of illness, Clinical Global Impression-improvement, Beck Depression Inven­tory scores, and additionally in advanced stages, changes in levodopa dosages were evaluated. Drug associated side effects were noted and compared. In dopamine agonist monotherapy group all of the subsections and total scores of Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale and Clinical Global Impression-severity of illness of the pramipexole subgroup showed significant improvement particularly at the end of the sixth month. In the pramipexole subgroup of levodopa add-on therapy group, there were significant improvements on Clinical Global Impression-severity of illness and Beck Depression Inventory scores, but we found significant improvement on Clinical Global Impression-severity of illness score at the end of the sixth month in ropinirole subgroup too. The efficacy of pramipexole and ropinirole as antiparkinsonian drugs for monotherapy and levodopa add-on therapy in Parkinson’s disease and their effects on motor complications when used with levodopa treatment for add-on therapy have been demonstrated in several previous studies. This study supports the effectiveness and safety of pramipexole and ropinirole in the monotherapy and levodopa add-on therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Clinical Neuroscience

[The examination of burnout among healthcare workers]

FEJES Éva, MÁK Kornél, POHL Marietta, BANK Gyula, FEHÉR Gergely, TIBOLD Antal

[Health reforms in recent decades have been largely based on economic considerations and have led to a significant problem in the sector today, with the issue of human resources being pushed back, which is exacerbated by burnout syndrome. The aim of this questionnaire-based study was to examine the complex background of burnout among health care workers in the cities of Komló, Pécs and Kecskemét. Baseline demographic data were recorded. Burnout was assessed by the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), and the intensity of dysfunctional attitudes were also studied. Depression was detected by the Beck Scale and social supports, and effort-reward dysbalance were also examined. Overall 411 employees participated in our study. Age group distribution was middle aged access, vast majority of the workers was between 36 and 55 years. Mean burnout scale was 58.6 (SD = 16.3), 63 workers had mild (14.2%), 356 had moderate (80.7%) and 22 had severe (5.1%) burnout. In a multivariate analysis the type of work (OR = 1.018), age (OR = 2.514), marital status (OR = 1.148), job type (OR = 1.246) the lack of social support (OR = 1.189) and allowance (OR = 9.719) were independently associated with burnout (p < 0.05 in all cases). There was a significant association among burnout, depression and dysfunctional attitudes. The vast majority of our social workers suffered from moderate and a small, but significant proportion suffered from severe burnout. Our work draws attention to the modifiable and unmodifiable risk factors of burnout in this population, which may help in the development of preventive strategies.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Psychometric properties of the Hungarian Adult Attachment Scale]

ŐRI Dorottya, KAPORNAI Krisztina, BAJI Ildikó, KISS Enikő

[The revised Adult Attachment Scale (AAS) developed by N. L. Collins is a widely used questionnaire to measure adult attachment. However, its psychometric properties have not been investigated in Hungary. We aimed to confirm the key psychometric properties of the Hungarian version of the AAS focusing on reliability indices on a population that consis­ted of depressed and non-depressed young adults. The AAS is a self-report questionnaire, in which two different dimensional evaluating systems are possible: the original (close, depend, and anxiety) and the alternative scoring system (anxiety, avoidance). Our study population consisted of young adults with a history of major depression (n = 264, median age = 25.7 years) and their never-depressed biological siblings (n = 244, median age = 24.0). The internal consistency of close, anxiety, and avoidance scales were satisfactory (Cronbach-α >0.7). The consistency of the depend scale was slightly lower than expected (Cronbach-α = 0.62). Test-retest reliability was good for all of the scales, it ranged from 0.73 to 0.78 after 14 months of follow-up period. The scale showed good discrimination as tested by the differences of close and anxiety attachment dimensions between the groups (p<0.01). More­over, we were able to differentiate the currently dep­res­sed subjects based on these attachment dimensions. Explo­ra­tory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted, and a bifactor solution proved optimal model fit. The three dimensions of the AAS has not been confirmed. However, the close and anxiety scales of AAS were found to be adequate. Our results also indicate that attachment features correlate with major depressive episodes in adulthood.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Evaluation of anxiety, depression and marital relationships in patients with migraine


Aim - The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency and characteristics of attacks in patients with migraine, to determine the effects of anxiety or depressive symptoms, and to evaluate the marital relationships of patients with migraine. Method - Thirty patients who were admitted to the neurology outpatient clinic of our hospital between July 2018 and October 2018 and were diagnosed with migraine according to the 2013 International Headache Society (IHS) diagnostic criteria were included in this cross-sectional study. Age, sex, headache frequency and severity, depressive traits, marital satisfaction and anxiety status were examined. We used the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Maudsley Marital Questionnaire (MMQ) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for measuring relevant parameters. Results - The mean severity of migraine pain according to VAS scale was 6.93 ± 1.41 and the mean number of migraine attacks was 4.50 ± 4.24. The mean BDI score of the patients was 12.66 ± 8.98, the mean MMQ-M score was 19.80 ± 12.52, the mean MMQ-S score was 13.20 ± 9.53, the mean STAI-state score was 39.93 ± 10.87 and the mean STAI-trait score was 45.73 ± 8.96. No significant correlation was found between age, number of migraine attacks, migraine duration, migraine headache intensity, and BDI, STAI and MMQ scores (p>0.05). But there was a positive correlation between MMQ-S and scores obtained from the BDI and STAI-state scales (p<0.05). Conclusion - In this study more than half of the migraine patients had mild, moderate or severe depression. A positive correlation was found between sexual dissatisfaction and scale scores of depression and anxiety.