Nov 17, 2020  |   2 minute read

Child Depression | CES-DC

Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC)

Recommended frequency: Every 2 weeks


The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC) is a 20-item self-report scale that measures the severity of depression symptoms over the past week. The scale can be used by individuals between the ages of 6 to 17. All items inquire about the frequency of symptoms, which are rated on a 4-point Likert scale. It can be used as a screening tool for depression in children and adolescents and is demonstrated to be a reliable measure to monitor depressive symptoms.

Psychometric Properties

The scale has demonstrated good to excellent internal consistency (αs = .84 – .92) and excellent concurrent validity with the Children’s Depression Inventory. The scale has demonstrated better 2-week test-retest reliability and psychometric properties with adolescents than when used by children.



The Scale

Below is a list of the ways you might have felt or acted. Please check how much you have felt this way during the past week.



Depression severity is calculated by assigning 0-3 to the response categories of “not at all”, “a little”, “some”, “a lot”, respectively. Items 4, 8, 12, and 16 are reverse-scored. The sum of all 20 items is calculated and represents the severity of depressive symptoms as determined by the child/adolescent. Total scale scores range from 0-60. A higher score reflects a greater degree of depression symptoms. A score of 15 or higher indicates a risk for depression in children and adolescents.


Copyright Information

Weissman MM, Orvaschel H, Padian N. 1980. Children’s symptom and social functioning self report scales: Comparison of mothers’ and children’s reports. Journal of Nervous Mental Disorders 168(12):736–740.