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CES–Depression Scale

User Information



Author/Developer :

Radloff, L.S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385-401.Lenore S. Radloff
Scientific Review Administrator
Epidemiology and Prevention
National Institute on Mental Health
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 16C26
Maryland 20857

Publication dates:


Description / Type of Assessment:

The CES-D is a 20-item, self-report depression scale. Items refer to the frequency of symptoms during last week. It can also be administered as a structured interview.

Primary use / Purpose:

To identify depression in the general population.

Domains measured / Life Areas / Problems Assessed:

CES-D covers the major components of depression, as identified in the literature.


Adolescent and adults, general and clinical populations.

Administration / Completion Time:

Approximately 5 minutes.

Scoring Procedures:

Question scores are summed to provide an overall score ranging from 0 to 60. Scores of 16 or more are commonly taken as indicative of depression.

Scoring Time:

1-2 minutes.


Not necessary.

Source of Psychometrics:

See and relevant studies.


English. The CES-D has been translated into a number of foreign languages.

Availability / Inquiries:

The original CES-D is in the public domain.



Practicability / usefulness:

The CES-D is a brief questionnaire that assesses the frequency and duration of the symptoms associated with depression. Studies with alcohol and drug abusers have shown the scale to be a reliable and valid measure of depressed feelings in these groups. CES-D also suitable for measuring change and improvements in depression following treatment. It has been used with both mates and females in general population surveys and in various clinical samples, including alcohol and drug abusers. The CES-D has been adapted for use with children. The scale has also been validated for use with adolescents, the elderly, and a number of different ethnic groups.
As with other self-assessed depression scales, the CES-D should not be viewed as a diagnostic tool, but rather as a screening tests to identify individuals or groups at risk for depression.


Among relevant studies, the user can find resumes of two meta-evaluations on the CES-D, covering 18 studies about the scale.




Page last updated: Thursday, 20 August 2009