The children's depression scale: Psychometric properties and factor structure


Psychology Department, A.N.U., G.P.O. Box 4, Canberra, A.C.T., 2601, Australia


The Children's Depression Scale was administered to fifth and sixth grades of two primary schools, mean age 11 years 5 months, and records analysed of 256 children. Reliability estimates for the scale were high. Average depression scores in this school population were considerably higher than those reported in the test manual for the normal group. Girls scored higher than boys on average. A factor analysis of the responses yielded nine interpretable oblique factors. The first two support the major categorization of items as those assessing depressive ideation and behaviour and those assessing the inability to experience pleasure, but there is no support for the sub-scales designated by the authors of the CDS. Some validation of the factors obtained comes from their resemblance to those derived from adult depression measures and from diagnostic symptom listings. It is concluded that until the sub-scales are further developed and validated it is safest to rely mainly on the D-score as a measure of a general depression problem in children.