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Perinatal depression is common, and left untreated can have significant and long-lasting consequences for women, their children and their families. Migrant women are at particular risk of perinatal depression as a result of a multitude of stressors experienced before, during and after migration. Identification of perinatal depression among migrant women-particularly those living in low- and middle-income regions-remains challenging, partly due to the lack of locally-validated and culturally appropriate screens tools. This study formally validates Burmese and Sgaw Karen versions of the Refugee Health Screener-15 (RHS-15) as a screening tool for perinatal depression among migrant women living on the Thai-Myanmar border. The Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnosis of DSM-IV Disorders (SCID) was used as the gold-standard comparator. Complete results were obtained for 235 Burmese-speaking and 275 Sgaw Karen-speaking women. Despite displaying reasonable psychometric properties, a number of shortcomings associated with the RHS-15 limited its utility in this setting. The Likert-type response categories of the RHS-15 proved problematic in this low-literacy population. Combined with the relative superiority and greater ease of administration of the SCID, the RHS-15 is not recommended as the tool of choice for detecting perinatal depression in this setting.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adolescent, Adult, Depression, Female, Geography, Humans, Middle Aged, Myanmar, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Psychometrics, ROC Curve, Refugees, Surveys and Questionnaires, Thailand, Transients and Migrants, Young Adult