Developing a Screening Measure for Early Detection of Depressive Symptoms: The Depressive Cognition Scale
Format of Original
Western Journal of Nursing Research
Original Item ID
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.