Use of a self-report symptom scale to detect depression in a community sample

Am J Psychiatry. 1980 Sep;137(9):1081-4. doi: 10.1176/ajp.137.9.1081.


The authors gave the CES-D, a self-report depression symptom scale, to 515 people drawn from a longitudinal community survey. The subjects were also interviewed using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (SADS). From the information collected on the SADS, the subjects were given diagnoses based on Research Diagnostic Criteria. The results indicate a modest relationship between self-reported symptoms of depression and the diagnosis of a major or minor depression. However, the groups defined as "cases" by such reports also include many people with other diagnoses or with no diagnoses at all. Thus, symptom scales are useful for the screening of depressed persons in research studies but are only rough indicators of clinical depression in the community.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Connecticut
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*