Distribution of item responses and total item scores for the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D): Data from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

PLoS One. 2018 Aug 16;13(8):e0202607. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202607. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

Background: Previous studies have shown that item responses and total scores on depression screening scales follow characteristic distribution patterns in the United States and Japanese general populations. However, the degree to which these findings, especially in terms of item responses, can be generalized to a European population is unknown. Thus, we analyzed the item responses and total score distribution for the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) in a representative Irish cohort from a large, recent study-the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).

Methods: We used CES-D data from the 2009-2011 TILDA (8504 individuals). Responses for the 16 depressive symptoms included "rarely," "some of the time," "occasionally," and "all of the time." Item response patterns and total score distribution across these 16 depressive symptom items were examined using graphical analyses and exponential regression modeling.

Results: Lines for item responses followed the same pattern across the 16 items. These lines were characterized by intersections in the vicinity of a single point between "rarely" and "some of the time" and parallel patterns from "some of the time" to "all of the time" on a log-normal scale. Total scores for the 16 items exhibited an exponential pattern, except for at the lower end of the distribution.

Conclusions: The present findings suggest that item responses and total scores on depression screening scales among the general population follow the same characteristic patterns across populations from multiple nations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Normal Distribution
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States

Grant support

This work was supported by a research grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI (grant number 18K03145; ST received the research grant; https://www.jsps.go.jp/english/index.html). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.