Document Type




Format of Original

15 p.

Publication Date



SAGE Publications

Source Publication

Western Journal of Nursing Research

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1177/0193945910396731


Nearly 10% of American adults experience depressive symptoms each year. Negative thought patterns associated with risk for depression can be identified using a psychometrically sound measure, such as the Depressive Cognition Scale (DCS). However, no meaningful cutoff score has been established for the DCS. This study used a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve to establish a DCS cutoff score for risk for depression, using the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale (CES-D) as the gold standard measure. In a national nondepressed sample of 629 adults, the ROC showed that the DCS accurately discriminated between participants with and without serious depressive thinking in 80% of cases and established an optimum balance of sensitivity (73.9-76.6%) and specificity (69.0-75.3%) at a score of 7. Although findings indicate that the DCS may overidentify risk for clinical depression, the instrument is useful for screening and assessment, with possible initiation of psychological treatment to prevent clinical depression.


Accepted version. Western Journal of Nursing Research, Vol. 34, No. 2 (March 2012): 230-244. DOI. © SAGE Publications. Used with permission.

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