Evidence-based assessment/Instruments/Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale

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The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) is a brief self-report questionnaire that is designed to measure depressive symptoms in the general population. The CES-D consists of 20 self-report questions that asks about various symptoms of depression as they have occurred in the past week,[1] and the child version, the CES-DC, is similarly structured and takes about 5 minutes to complete. The majority of the items focus on the affective component of depression. The CES-D was initially designed for use in general population surveys, but now serves as a screening instrument in primary care clinics and in research.[1] 

Scoring and interpretation[edit | edit source]

Item breakdown and scoring[edit | edit source]

Response choices to each item are assigned point values, which are summed together to determine a total measure score. Response choices for each item and their corresponding point values are as follows:

  • 0 points: "Not at all"
  • 1 point: "A little"
  • 2 points: "Some"
  • 3 points: "A lot"

Items 4, 8, 12 and 16 are phrased to reflect positive affect and behavior, and therefore are scored in opposite order as follows:

  • 0 points: "A lot"
  • 1 point: "Some"
  • 2 points: "A little"
  • 3 points: "Not at all "

Cutoffs and interpretation[edit | edit source]

Scores on the CES-DC range from 0 to 60, in which higher scores suggest a greater presence of depressive symptoms. A score of 15 or higher is interpreted to indicate a risk for depression. However, screening for depression is a complex process and scoring a 15 or higher on the CES-DC should be followed by further evaluation.

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]