Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Metric

Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)


Access: FREE/Open Access

Download the full text(s): CES-D

evaluation focus

Depression Symptoms

applicable ages

156+ months; 13+ years

available language(s)

English and Others


FREE download through the library

additional materials

CES-D – Summary


The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) is an instrument that can be used to assess current symptoms of depression in the general population. Cutoff scores provided aid in identifying those at risk for clinical depression.


Sample Symptoms Assessed:

    • restless sleep
    • poor appetite
    • feeling lonely

Response Options (0-3):

    • 0 = Rarely or None of the Time
    • 1 = Some or Little of the Time
    • 2 = Moderately or Much of the time
    • 3 = Most or Almost All the Time

Scores range from 0 to 60. High scores indicate greater depressive symptoms.


Administration Format: paper/pencil questionnaire

Administration: 10-20 minutes


Reliability (Radloff 1977):

    • Test-Retest: adequate
        • By Mail, 2-8 Weeks Interval: r=0.51, 0.67, 0.59, 0.59, total: 0.57
        • Reinterview, 3-12 Months Interval: r=0.48, 0.54, 0.49

Validity (Radloff 1977)

    • General Population: Standard cut-off scores suggested depression > 16
        • Sensitivity = 0.95
        • Specificity = 0.29
    • Depression symptoms identified from clinical literature and factor analysis:
        • Depressed mood
        • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
        • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
        • Psychomotor retardation
        • Loss of appetite
        • Sleep disturbance


Source: https://www.sralab.org/rehabilitation-measures/center-epidemiological-studies-depression-scale-ces-d


Source: https://www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/caregivers/practice-settings/assessment/tools/depression-scale

supporting literature

Carleton, R.N., et al. (2013) The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale: A Review With a Theoretical and Empirical Examination of Item Content and Factor Structure. PLoS One, 8(3), e58067.
PDF: CES-D – 1 – Carleton 2013
Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3585724/

Lewinsohn, P.M., Seeley, J.R., Roberts, R.E., Allen, N.B. (1997) Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) as a Screening Instrument for Depression among Community-Residing Older Adults. Psychology and Aging, 12(2), 277-87.
PDF: CES-D – 2 – Lewinsohn 1997
Link: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1997-06412-009

Björgvinsson, T., Kertz, S.J., ,Bigda-Peyton, J.S., McCoy, K.L., Aderka, I.M. (2013) Psychometric Properties of the CES-D-10 in a Psychiatric Sample. Assessment, 20(4), 429-436.
PDF: CES-D – 3 – Björgvinsson 2013
Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1073191113481998

Radloff, L. (1977). The CES-D Scale: A Self Report Depression Scale for Research in the General. Applied Psychological Measurement 1(3), 385-401.