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Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)
The instrument is freely available here: PLEASE CLICK HERE  FOR MORE INFORMATION
Exploratory: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Short Description of Instrument
Background: Developed to screen for depression without notable focus on somatic symptoms. Items were geared to assess psychological symptoms and cognitive complaints associated with depression. The measure's simplicity was also designed to limit resistance towards psychiatric assessment or intervention by older adults.
Construct measured: Depression in geriatric patients. Generic vs. disease specific : Generic
Means of administration: Self-report Intended respondent: Patient
# of items: 30
# of subscales and names of sub-scales: N/A (total score)
# of items per sub-scale: N/A
Administration time: 5 minutes
Strengths: Quick, easy to use, completed by patient, does not require interview or informant, can be completed verbally or in writing.
Weaknesses: Not appropriate for younger adult patient population (normed on patients 55 and older), cut off scores do not categorize patients into moderate range, just mild and severe.
Scoring: One point is given for each correct answer:
A score of 0-9 is considered normal; 10-19 indicates mild depression; and a score of over 20 is suggestive of severe depression.
Psychometric Properties
Feasibility: Easy to administer, quick to score.
Reliability: Test-retest reliability (1 week) 0.85. Internal consistency (alpha coefficient 0.94) higher than other depression measures (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale), Split-half reliability (0.94).
Validity: Cut-off scores of 11 have 84% sensitivity and 95% specificity; cut-off of 14 decreases sensitivity to 80% but increases specificity to 100%.
Sensitivity to Change: Unknown
Relationships to other variables: Initial studies suggested it has validity with both physically healthy and physically ill elderly adults.
Brink TL, Yesavage JA, Lum O, Heersema P, Adey MB, Rose TL: Screening tests for geriatric depression.
Clinical Gerontologist 1: 37-44, 1982.
Sheikh JI, Yesavage JA: Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): Recent evidence and development of a shorter version. Clinical Gerontology: A Guide to Assessment and Intervention 165-173, NY: The Haworth Press, 1986.
Sheikh JI, Yesavage JA, Brooks JO, III, Friedman LF, Gratzinger P, Hill RD, Zadeik A, Crook T: Proposed factor structure of the Geriatric Depression Scale. International Psychogeriatrics 3: 23- 28, 1991.
Yesavage JA, Brink TL, Rose TL, Lum O, Huang V, Adey MB, Leirer VO: Development and validation of a geriatric depression screening scale: A preliminary report. Journal of Psychiatric Research 17: 37-49, 1983.
Document last updated August 2022