The short version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21): factor structure in a young adolescent sample

J Adolesc. 2010 Feb;33(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2009.05.014. Epub 2009 Jun 26.


This study explored the factor structure of the short form of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995b) in a young adolescent sample. A group of 484 high school students (Mean age=13.62 years, Min=11.83, Max=15.67 years, 52 % boys) completed the DASS-21. Several models were tested using Confirmatory Factor Analysis. A model consistent with the factor structure of the adult DASS, with correlated error terms, provided good fit to the data. However, correlations among the factors were very high. A 'quadripartite' model involving a common 'Negative Affect' factor as well as the three specific factors of Depression, Anxiety and Tension/Stress was tested to explain these correlations and was supported by the data. This model suggests that the core symptoms of Depression and Anxiety are similar in adults and adolescents, but the conceptualisation and assessment of Tension/Stress in adolescents needs further refinement.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Child
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*