Evidence-based assessment/Instruments/Weinberg screen affective scale

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The Weinberg Screen Affective Scale (WSAS) is a free scale designed to screen for symptoms of depression in children and young adults ages 5–21. It can be used as an initial treatment scale and can be used to follow up on treatment efficacy. There are 56 self-report questions that screen for symptoms in 10 major categories of depression: dysphoric mood, low self-esteem, agitation, sleep disturbance, change in school performance, diminished socialization, change in attitude towards school, somatic complaints, loss of usual energy, and unusual change in weight and/or appetite.[1] The scale is based on previously proposed criteria for depression in children.[2] A study looking at the agreement between scales for depression diagnosis found 79.4% agreement between the DSM-III and the WSAS in a sample of 107 children.[3]

The test is a 56-item self-report test to be completed by the child or young adult that takes an average of 3–5 minutes to complete. Each question describes a symptom and the respondent circles either "yes" or "no" if the symptom applies. The WSAS is written at a fourth grade level, in order to get better results. To go along with this, the definitions of behaviors were made very clear and to the point.[4] The purpose of the two forms (adult and child) is to help clinicians more readily recognize depression in children who have been failing in school, have done poorly in the home, and will allow other school personnel to be more cognizant of depression symptoms in students.[5] Based on research, the WSAS has been found both reliable and valid.[3][6]

Question breakdown, scoring and interpretation[edit | edit source]

Respondents of this assessment answer "yes" or "no" to each question depending on whether the question applies to them or not.

Question breakdown[edit | edit source]

Each question is divided into ten different categories. The breakdown is as follows:

9, 13, 14, 16, 18, 40, 48, and 50: Dysphoric Mood

2, 5, 6, 20, 21, 29, 31, 42, 47, and 54: Self-Deprecatory Ideation

28, 32, 45, and 51: Agitation

38, 41, 43, and 52: Sleep Disturbance

3, 10, 17, 33, 34, and 35: Change in School Performance

7, 25, and 46: Diminished Socialization

8, 12, 24, and 49: Change in Attitude Towards School

23, 27, 36, and 37: Somatic Complaints

4, 11, 26, and 53: Loss of Usual Energy

15, 19, 22, and 44: Unusual Change in Appetite and/or Weight

Scoring and interpretation[edit | edit source]

For someone to be "positive" for a symptom category, meaning that they display that symptom category, the respondent must answer "yes" to at least two items in that category. In addition, for the respondent to be tested "positive" for depression, the respondent must test positive for both dysphoric mood and self-deprecatory ideation, in addition to four out of the eight remaining symptom categories, and have responded "yes" to question 55 of the assessment. Question number 54 was added to this scale in order to measure suicidal ideation, which is symptom of self-deprecatory ideation.[7]

One limitation is that some statements discriminated between depressed and non-depressed individuals differently based on ethnicity. For example, some questions had different validities among whites, blacks, and Hispanics.[8] Another limitation is that the WSAS-SF may not be valid in assessing adolescents’ suicidal tendencies, as there is only one item question out of 15 that relates to the topic.

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Weinberg, Warren. "Depression and Other Affective Illnesses as a Cause of School Failure and Maladaptation in Learning Disabled Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults". massgeneral. Massachusetts General Hospital. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  2. "Diagnostic criteria in childhood depression". American Journal of Psychiatry 142 (10): 1168–1173. 1985-10-01. doi:10.1176/ajp.142.10.1168. ISSN 0002-953X. http://psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.142.10.1168. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 CARLSON, GABRIELLE A.; CANTWELL, DENNIS P. (May 1982). "Diagnosis of Childhood Depression: A Comparison of the Weinberg and DSM-III Criteria". Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry 21 (3): 247–250. doi:10.1016/S0002-7138(09)60878-5. 
  4. http://jcn.sagepub.com/content/5/2/114.full.pdf+html
  5. "Weinberg Screening Affective Scales (WSAS and WSAS-SF)". Journal of Child Neurology 3: 294–296. 1998. http://jcn.sagepub.com/content/3/4/294.full.pdf. 
  6. Weinberg, W. A.; Emslie, G. J. (1 October 1988). "Weinberg Screening Affective Scales (WSAS and WSAS-SF)". Journal of Child Neurology 3 (4): 294–296. doi:10.1177/088307388800300412. 
  7. Weinberg, W. A.; Emslie, G. J. (1 October 1988). "Weinberg Screening Affective Scales (WSAS and WSAS-SF)". Journal of Child Neurology 3 (4): 294–296. doi:10.1177/088307388800300412. 
  8. Emslie, G. J.; Weinberg, W. A.; Rush, A. J.; Adams, R. M.; Rintelmann, J. W. (1 April 1990). "Depressive Symptoms by Self-Report in Adolescence: Phase I of the Development of a Questionnaire for Depression by Self-Report". Journal of Child Neurology 5 (2): 114–121. doi:10.1177/088307389000500208.