Self-report measures of depression: Some psychometric considerations


Institute of Catholic Education, Oakleigh Campus (formerly Christ College), 17 Castlebar Road, Oakleigh 3166, Victoria, Australia


This paper examines some aspects of the psychometric adequacy of existing self-report depression measures, so that clinicians might better appreciate their reliability and validity. Issues addressed include the desirability of moderate rather than maximum test-retest and item homogeneity/internal consistency estimates; the distinction between measurement at the surface syndrome level vs. that at the fundamental source state/trait level; the importance of appropriate rather than arbitrary factor analytic procedures; and the need for multivariate measures instead of the single-scale instruments so often employed to measure depression in isolation from interacting emotions such as anxiety or stress. Apart from these more general issues, a number of specific criticisms is considered, along with recommendations for better self-report measures of depression.