This CES-D scale calculator evaluates depressive symptoms in patients with 20 questions and a score interpretation of the depression severity. Below the form you can read more about the questions in the depression scale and their weight, the study behind and also reveal the way the results are interpreted.
How does this CES-D scale calculator work?
This is a health tool that assesses the existence of depression and in what degree based on a series of questions where the patient needs to evaluate their behavior and feelings from the past two weeks.
This CES-D scale calculator comprises of the 20 questions in the original model and their answer choices as explained below. Available answer choices and their meanings:
■ Rarely or none of the time - under 1 day in the 2 week interval.
■ Some or a little of the time - 1-2 days in the assessed interval.
■ Occasionally or a moderate amount of the time - 3-4 days in the 2 week interval.
■ Most or all of the time - 5-7 days in the assessed interval.
The questions refer to the emotional state, perceived events in life and also the frequency of experiencing certain symptoms that can be connected to a depressive disorder.
The items focus on the major depressive symptoms as defined by the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) in order to have sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing a major depressive episode.
Questions 4, 8, 12 and 16 are slightly different, focusing on the opposite symptoms, such as happiness, hopefulness and confidence.
1. I was bothered by things that usually don’t bother me.
2. I did not feel like eating; my appetite was poor.
3. I felt that I could not shake off the blues even with help from my family.
4. I felt that I was just as good as other people.
5. I had trouble keeping my mind on what I was doing.
6. I felt depressed.
7. I felt that everything I did was an effort.
8. I felt hopeful about the future.
9. I thought my life had been a failure.
10. I felt fearful.
11. My sleep was restless.
12. I was happy.
13. I talked less than usual.
14. I felt lonely.
15. People were unfriendly.
16. I enjoyed life.
17. I had crying spells.
18. I felt sad.
19. I felt that people disliked me.
20. I could not "get going."
The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale was created in 1977 by Laurie Radloff as a screening method in the psychiatric epidemiology of depression. There is also a revised version from 2004 by William Eaton.
This depression scale is widely used nowadays, from children to the elderly, although for the last there are also specific depression screening methods such as the geriatric depression scale (GDS).
CES-D scale interpretation
The assessor indicates to the patient that they need to choose the answer choices that they agree best with and that are closest to what they have experienced in the past two weeks. Each answer in the scale is then rated from 0 to 3 points.
Usually the “rarely” answer is given 0 and the most or all of the time answer is awarded 3. In items 4, 8, 12 and 16 however, since the questions are different, the scale points are the other way around. Therefore the depression screening test scoring ranges between 0 and 60.
For scores less than 15, the scale does not indicate any depressive disorder existing but does recommend further monitoring of the symptoms that might raise suspicions.
Scores between 15 and 21 are indicative of mild to moderate depression already existing while all scores above 21 are consistent with the existence of severe/ major depression and the initiation of therapy, either with medicines or psychotherapy and counseling is required.
How can a depression scale help
Such a short self report scale allows almost any individual to have a look at their mental status and assesses whether they might be in need for professional help. Anyone with a doubt in regard to the extend of their depressive symptoms such as repeated sadness, worthlessness, lack of concentration, agitation, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or irritability can use the CES-D scale for a quick evaluation.
Depressive disorder as many other mental health conditions, interferes with the perception the individual has and is often a very serious illness if left untreated.
A scale that reflect the main facets of depression, such as depressed mood, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness or psychomotor retardation can trigger some alarms in regard to the individual’s state, especially in cases where people often overlook or underestimate the gravity of what they are experiencing. It can be a first point of diagnosis and then help pave the way to treatment and rehabilitation.
1) Radloff LS. (1977) The CES-D scale: a self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement; 1:385-401.
2) Eaton WW, Muntaner C, Smith C, Tien A, Ybarra M. (2004) Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale: Review and revision (CESD and CESD-R). In: Maruish ME, ed. The Use of Psychological Testing for Treatment Planning and Outcomes Assessment. 3rd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum; 363-377.
3) Roth DL, Ackerman ML, Okonkwo OC, Burgio LD. (2008). The four-factor model of depressive symptoms in dementia caregivers: A structural equation model of ethnic differences. Psychology and Aging, 23, 567–576.
4) Hann D, Winter K, Jacobsen P. (1999) Measurement of depressive symptoms in cancer patients. Evaluation of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 46, 437-44313 Sep, 2015