The Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21 (DASS-21): further examination of dimensions, scale reliability, and correlates

J Clin Psychol. 2012 Dec;68(12):1322-38. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21908. Epub 2012 Aug 28.


Objectives: We conducted two studies to examine the dimensions, internal consistency reliability estimates, and potential correlates of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21 (DASS-21; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995).

Method: Participants in Study 1 included 887 undergraduate students (363 men and 524 women, aged 18 to 35 years; mean [M] age = 19.46, standard deviation [SD] = 2.17) recruited from two public universities to assess the specificity of the individual DASS-21 items and to evaluate estimates of internal consistency reliability. Participants in a follow-up study (Study 2) included 410 students (168 men and 242 women, aged 18 to 47 years; M age = 19.65, SD = 2.88) recruited from the same universities to further assess factorial validity and to evaluate potential correlates of the original DASS-21 total and scale scores.

Results: Item bifactor and confirmatory factor analyses revealed that a general factor accounted for the greatest proportion of common variance in the DASS-21 item scores (Study 1). In Study 2, the fit statistics showed good fit for the bifactor model. In addition, the DASS-21 total scale score correlated more highly with scores on a measure of mixed depression and anxiety than with scores on the proposed specific scales of depression or anxiety. Coefficient omega estimates for the DASS-21 scale scores were good.

Conclusions: Further investigations of the bifactor structure and psychometric properties of the DASS-21, specifically its incremental and discriminant validity, using known clinical groups are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Young Adult