Summed-score linking using item response theory: application to depression measurement

Psychol Assess. 2000 Sep;12(3):354-9. doi: 10.1037//1040-3590.12.3.354.


An item response theory (IRT) approach to test linking based on summed scores is presented and demonstrated by calibrating a modified 23-item version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) to the standard 20-item CES-D. Data are from the Depression Patient Outcomes Research Team, II, which used a modified CES-D to measure risk for depression. Responses (N = 1,120) to items on both the original and modified versions were calibrated simultaneously using F. Samejima's (1969, 1997) graded IRT model. The 2 scales were linked on the basis of derived summed-score-to-IRT-score translation tables. The established cut score of 16 on the standard CES-D corresponded most closely to a summed score of 20 on the modified version. The IRT summed-score approach to test linking is a straightforward, valid, and practical method that can be applied in a variety of situations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Reaction Time