Psychiatry Investig.  2020 May;17(5):395-402. 10.30773/pi.2019.0163.

Brief Screening for Four Mental Illnesses of the Elderly in Community Mental Health Services: the BS4MI-Elderly

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Republic of Korea
  • 2Suwon Happiness Mental Health Welfare Center, Suwon, Republic of Korea


Early detection and proper management of mental illness can help to prevent severe deterioration. However, with limited financial and human resources of community mental health services, it is not practical to carry out all conventional screening tools simultaneously. In this study, we aimed to develop and validate a brief but comprehensive screening questionnaire for four common mental illnesses of the elderly.
The brief screening for four mental illnesses of elderly (BS4MI-elderly) is a 14-item binary response questionnaire that covers dementia, depressive disorder, sleep disorder, and hwa-byung. To test validity, we compared conventional scale scores for three groups of participants classified using the BS4MI-elderly. The sensitivity, specificity, predictive value of positive test, likelihood ratio of positive test and internal consistency of the BS4MI-elderly were assessed. Finally, a correlation analysis between the BS4MI-elderly and general mental health scales was conducted.
A total of 254 participants aged over 65 years were recruited. The BS4MI-elderly showed moderate to high sensitivity for the test that distinguishes the normal group from the risk and disorder groups (dementia: 0.61, depressive disorder: 0.88, sleep disorder: 0.85, hwa-byung: 0.94) and high specificity for the test that distinguishes the disorder group from the normal and risk groups (dementia: 0.91, depressive disorder: 0.93, hwa-byung: 0.84, sleep disorder: 0.84). The BS4MI-elderly also exhibited good internal consistency and significant correlations with general mental health scales.
The BS4MI-elderly, a brief but comprehensive screening tool, could be a useful instrument for screening the elderly in community mental health services.


Geriatric psychiatry, Community psychiatry
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