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Keywords:

  • Depression;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • CES-D

Abstract

Objective

The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) is an instrument commonly used to assess depressive symptoms. Although the psychometric properties of the instrument are well established, the instrument's ability to identify confirmed cases of major depression has been unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of cutoff scores from both a full scale and a modified CES-D to detect major depression in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Method

Data were analyzed from 457 persons with RA, including 91 who met criteria for major depression.

Results

Results indicated that, in general, a full scale cutoff score of 19 was the most efficient in identifying cases of major depression; the cutoff score of 19 outperformed a variety of other cutoff scores from the modified scale. Even the most efficient cutoff scores, however, demonstrated problems in accurately identifying people with depression.

Conclusion

The CES-D, while potentially useful as a screening tool, should not be used to identify cases of major depression.