Cut-Off Scores of the Children's Depression Inventory for Screening and Rating Severity in Korean Adolescents

Psychiatry Investig. 2015 Jan;12(1):23-8. doi: 10.4306/pi.2015.12.1.23. Epub 2015 Jan 12.


Objective: The aim was to establish an optimal cut-off score of the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) for detecting depression and rating severity in Korean adolescents.

Methods: A total of 468 students aged 12-16 years from 8 middle schools in Busan, Korea participated in this study. The Korean version of the CDI and Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia Present and Lifetime Version were used to evaluate depressive symptoms. Receiver-operating characteristics (ROC) analyses were conducted to evaluate case-finding performance and set the cut-off scores.

Results: ROC analyses demonstrated that the overall discrimination power of the CDI is good enough to evaluate adolescent depression. The CDI sum score of 20 was identified as the optimal screening cut-off score, where sensitivity was 0.83 and specificity was 0.89. This cut-off score could apply regardless of subjects' gender. The cut-off scores were examined in order of the depression severity: 15 for mild, 20 for moderate, and 25 for severe depression with high sensitivity and specificity.

Conclusion: The CDI cut-off scores of our study can be recommended for screening depressed youth and rating the severity of depressive symptoms. The high negative predictive value suggested that the cut-off score of 20 would result in a small number of missed cases. Further studies are needed to ascertain these CDI cut-off scores for different age groups.

Keywords: Adolescent; Children's Depression Inventory; Cut-off score; Depression; Screening; Severity.