Nov 17, 2020  |   2 minute read

Somatic / Physical Symptoms | PHQ-15

Adapted Patient Health Questionnaire 15 (PHQ-15)

Recommended frequency: Every 2 weeks


This measure has been adapted from the Patient Health Questionnaire Physical Symptoms (PHQ-15) by the American Psychiatric Association (“APA”) for use by children and adolescents.The PHQ-15 is a well-validated scale that can be used to screen for somatization concerns and monitor symptom severity.

The APA version is identical to the 15-item version, although two items have been removed. Each item evaluates the degree to which an individual has been bothered by a specific somatic concern during the past week on a 3-point Likert scale. Higher scores on the PHQ-15 correspond to increased functional impairment. The self-report scale can be used by individuals between the ages of 11 to 17. A parent/caregiver version is also available and can be completed by individuals whose child is between the ages of 6 to 17.

Psychometric Properties

The PHQ-15 demonstrates good internal consistency (α = .80) when used by adults. It also has good test-retest reliability and convergent validity with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12).



The Scale

Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?



Severity of somatic symptoms is determined by assigning 0-2 to the response categories of “not bothered at all”, “bothered a little”, and “bothered a lot”, respectively. The sum of all 13 items represents the severity of symptoms as determined by the youth/adolescent or parent/caretaker. Total scores range from 0-26, higher scores indicating a greater severity of somatic symptoms. The table below indicates the severity ranges for an individual’s scores.


Copyright Information

Developed by Drs. Robert L. Spitzer, Janet B.W. Williams, Kurt Kroenke and colleagues, with an educational grant from Pfizer Inc.