Evidence based assessment/Instruments/Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale
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, 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.
Scoring and interpretation
Item breakdown and scoring
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
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.
- Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
- EffectiveChildTherapy.Org information on sadness, hopelessness, and depression
- Radloff, Lenore Sawyer (June 1977). "The CES-D Scale: A Self-Report Depression Scale for Research in the General Population" (PDF). Applied Psychological Measurement 1 (3): 385-401. doi:10.1177/014662167700100306. http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/98561/v01n3p385.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.