Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D Scale)

The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D Scale) is a 20-item self-report scale developed for measuring depressive symptomatology in the general population. The items of the scale are symptoms associated with depression which have been used in previously validated longer scales.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adults


During the past week:
1. I was bothered by things that usually don't bother me.
2. I did not feel like eating; my appetite was poor.
3. I felt that I could not shake off the blues even with help from my family or friends.
4. I felt that I was just as good as other people.
5. I had trouble keeping my mind on what I was doing.
6. I felt depressed.
7. I felt that everything I did was an effort.
8. I felt hopeful about the future.
9. I thought my life had been a failure.
10. I felt fearful.
11. My sleep was restless.
12. I was happy.
13. I talked less than usual.
14. I felt lonely.
15. People were unfriendly.
16. I enjoyed life.
17. I had crying spells.
18. I felt sad.
19. I felt that people dislike me.
20. I could not get "going."

Response Options:
Rarely or None of the Time (Less than 1 Day) - 0
Some of a Little of the Time (1-2 Days) - 1
Occasionally or a Moderate Amount of Time (3-4 Days) - 2
Most or All of the Time (5-7 Days) - 3

Scoring Procedures

Each response is scored from zero to three on a scale of frequency of occurrence of the symptom. The total score for the 20-item scale is calculated by summing the item scores, with a possible range of total scores between zero to 60. The higher scores indicate more symptoms, weighted by frequency of occurrence during the past week.

Original Citation

Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D Scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1(3), 385-401.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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