Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Julianne Ossege

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Judith Daniels

Committee Member

Dr. Amanda Fallin-Bennett


Background: Depression, chronic pain and opioid dependence are conditions commonly encountered in primary care settings. These comorbidities create treatment challenges while negatively influencing outcomes of care. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ9) and Global Pain Scale (GPS) are valid screening tools used to score depression and pain symptoms. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between the PHQ9 and Global Pain Scale (GPS) scores in opioid dependent adults with chronic pain to determine whether both tools are necessary.

Methods: This was a descriptive study using a retrospective correlational research design. Data was obtained from the electronic medical records (EMR) of 44 patients enrolled in a Chronic Opioid Analgesic Therapy (COAT) clinic between August 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017. Privacy was maintained through de-identification of data. The variables were analyzed using SPSS statistical software after all data was collected.

Results: A significant and positive correlation exists between the PHQ9 and GPS total scores (r = .63). In addition, all the sub scores of the Your Activities and Your Clinical Outcomes of the GPS were statistically significant and positively correlated to the PHQ9 at p = <0.05.

Conclusion: Understanding the relationship between the PHQ9 and GPS scores in adults with chronic pain and opioid dependence can improve depression screening and reduce respondent fatigue. The results of this study indicate the GPS may be sufficient to screen for depression, and the PHQ9 could be eliminated from the screening process.