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Comment & Response
October 14, 2019

Error in Coding of Questionnaire Scale in Study of Depression in Adolescents

Author Affiliations
  • 1Western Psychiatric Hospital, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2019;322(17):1717-1718. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.12855

To the Editor On behalf of our coauthors of the Treatment of SSRI-Resistant Depression in Adolescents study, we are writing to report an erratum to our Original Contribution “Switching to Another SSRI or to Venlafaxine With or Without Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents With SSRI-Resistant Depression: The TORDIA Randomized Controlled Trial,” published in the February 27, 2008, issue of JAMA.1

In the article, we presented the findings of a study of 4 treatment strategies for adolescents with continued depression despite initial treatment with an antidepressant. We found that the combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and a switch to another antidepressant resulted in a higher rate of response than did a medication switch alone; however, a switch to another selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor was just as efficacious as a switch to venlafaxine but with fewer adverse effects.

While working on a manuscript for a different study, we became aware that our coding of the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire-Jr was incorrect. The questionnaire consists of 15 items, each scored on a 7-point scale ranging from 0 (“I never had this thought”) to 6 (“Almost every day”). A total score ranging from 0 to 90 is calculated as the sum of each item. Clinically significant suicidal ideation is defined as a total score of 31 or higher. In our database, we instead coded each item on a scale from 1 to 7, which inflated the total score by 15 points. Therefore, the means, CIs, and the cut point for clinically significant suicidal ideation we reported are incorrect.

Corrections to address this coding error affect data in Table 1, a corresponding number in the Results section discussing baseline data, and the questionnaire data in Table 4 reporting study outcomes from the treatment period. These errors did not affect the conclusions or interpretations of the study.

We apologize to the journal and readers for the error. We appreciate the opportunity to correct the data in our study.2

Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Deputy Editor.
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Article Information

Corresponding Author: David A. Brent, MD, Western Psychiatric Hospital, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 100 N Bellefield Ave, Room 311, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (

Published Online: October 14, 2019. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.12855

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Brent reported receiving research support from the NIMH, AFSP, Once Upon a Time Foundation, and Beckwith Foundation; receiving royalties from Guilford Press, from the electronic self-rated version of the C-SSRS from eRT Inc, and from performing duties as an UpToDate Psychiatry Section Editor; and receiving consulting fees from Healthwise. Ms Porta reported no disclosures.

Brent  D, Emslie  G, Clarke  G,  et al.  Switching to another SSRI or to venlafaxine with or without cognitive behavioral therapy for adolescents with SSRI-resistant depression: the TORDIA randomized controlled trial.  JAMA. 2008;299(8):901-913. doi:10.1001/jama.299.8.901PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
 Error in coding of suicidal ideation questionnaire scale  [correction].  JAMA. Published online October 14, 2019. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.16240Google Scholar