Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI)
Brief history: The Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) has been designed to measure the self-rated assessment of depressive symptoms for school-aged children and adolescents. There are 27 items that evaluate symptoms such as depressed mood, hedonic capacity, vegetative sign, self-evaluation, and interpersonal behaviors. These items are presented as three statements of varying symptom severity. The CDI was designed to be administered to children and adolescents between 7 and 17 years old.
Purpose: It is designed to measure cognitive, affective, and behavioral symptoms of depression in children.
Population: Children and adolescents aged between 7 to 17 years
Time: 15 minutes or less for CDI and 5-10 minutes for (CDI-Short form)
Author: Maria Kovacs
Publisher: Mental Health Systems
Description: The Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) has been designed to measure the self-rated assessment of depressive symptoms for school-aged children and adolescents. There are 27 items that evaluate symptoms such as depressed mood, hedonic capacity, vegetative sign, self-evaluation, and interpersonal behaviors.
The CDI was designed to be administered to children and adolescents between 7 and 17 years old. The 27-item CDI should take no more than 15 minutes for children to complete and the Children’s Depression Inventory-Short Version (CDI-S) consists of 10-item, it should not take more than 5-10 minutes.
A short form with 10 items can be used when a quick screening is necessary. While both forms are reported to give comparable results, the longer form provides factor scores and generally gives a more vigorous description of the child’s symptoms. The reading level of the CDI is at the first-grade level, the lowest of any measure of depression for children.
Scoring: The examiner should assure that the child should aware about mark only a single box out of the three alternatives. Occasionally, children express concern that some items do not relate to them. At that time, the examiner should encourage the child to mark the choice that best fits him or her. The CDI and CDI-S items are scored on a 3-point scale.
The Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) consists of five Scales such as
- A: Negative Mood,
- B: Interpersonal Problems,
- C: Ineffectiveness,
- D: Anhedonia, and
- E: Negative Self Esteem.
For each item the children have three possible answers such as,
- indicating an absence of symptoms,
- indicating mild symptoms, and
- definite symptoms.
The scores for each item contributing to the factor in question are summed to obtain the factor raw score. The total score ranges from 0 to 54.
The children’s depression inventory can be administered using a quick Score TM Form to assist in scoring and transforming the scores to a profile. Factor scores are calculated by adding the scores for each letter assigned to each item. Total scores and factor scores converted to total scores on the profile form. The Children’s Depression Inventory can also be administered and scored using a microcomputer, or administered using paper forms and scored using the computer program.
Reliability: Internal consistency reliability has been found to be good, with coefficients ranging from .71 to .89 with various samples. Test-retest reliability correlations appear to be acceptable. However, it is expected that the symptoms of depression would change over time, and regression to the mean is associated with repeated testing over time.
Validity: Numerous research studies have supported the children’s depression inventory as assessing important constructs both for explanatory and predictive uses for characterizing symptoms of depression in children and adolescents. Studies of discriminant validity found significant differences in negative Mood factor scores (p <.05) but no significant difference for total CDI scores among a sample of 134 children and adolescents with various depressive disorders. Some studies report the CDI to successfully distinguish normal from diagnostic categories, while other studies have been less favorable, and it is agreed that more research on the discriminant validity is needed for the CDI.
Norms: The normative sample included 1266 public school students from Florida in grades 2 through 8. There were 592 boys between the ages of 7 and 15, and 674 girls ages 7 to 16. Assuming the sample to be representative of the total demographics of the school, it is estimated that 77% were white, and 23% African American, Native American, or Hispanic. The population was mostly middle class, and about 20% of the students were from single homes. Separate norms were developed for two groups based on ages, (7-12, and 13-17) as developmental trends result in higher scores for the older group.
Suggested use: The children’s depression inventory measures the severity of symptoms of depression in children and adolescents. The inventory should be used with other assessment instruments for diagnosis and monitoring treatment progress.
Read More: Beck Depression Inventory-II
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- Kovacs M. The Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) manual North Tanawanda. New York, NY: Multi-Health Systems; 1992.
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