Background There is a lack of validated instruments for detection of depression in ethnic minority adolescent patients in primary care. This study aimed to compare a subgroup of the bilingual, ethnic minority adolescents with the rest of the population using Hscl-10, Hscl-6, WHO-5 and 3-Key Questions for detection of depression in primary care. Method This is a cross-sectional, multicenter study conducted in General Practice in Norway and Denmark. A minor bilingual non-aggregated heterogenic ethnic minority group from non-European countries was compared with a major ethnic group of Norwegian/Danish adolescents. Participants completed questionnaires which were either mailed to them or found on our website. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used as gold standard. Depression classified by the International Classification of Diseases - 10. The Internal and external validity of the four questionnaires were examined. Optimal cut-off point for major depressive disorder was calculated using the Youden Index. Results 294 (77 %) were interviewed; mean age was 15 years. The ethnic group comprised 44 (64 % girls and 36 % boys). Chronbach’s alpha was above 0. 70 and area under curve was 0.80 or above for all instruments in the ethnic minority group. Cut-off points for major depressive disorder had sensitivities of 81 % (Hscl-10), 82 % (Hscl-6), 91 % (Who-5) and 81 % (3-key questions) in the ethnic minority group. Corresponding specificities were 80 % (Hscl-10), 77 % (Hscl-6), 80 % (Who-5) and 67 % (3-key questions). Cut-off points were the same Hscl-10, Who-5, the 3-key questions but differed for Hscl-6. Conclusion Hscl-10, Hscl-6, WHO-5 and 3-key questions seem to be valid instruments for detection of depression in bilingual, ethnic minority adolescents in primary care.
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