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National Cancer Institute
Behavioral Research - Cancer Control and Population Sciences

NCI Measures Guide for Youth Tobacco Research

Depressive Symptoms
Choi, Patten, Gillin, Kaplan, & Pierce.

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Brief Description: This six-item self-report measure, adapted from Kandel and Davies (1982), assesses six depressive symptoms experienced during the past twelve months. This measure provides a brief index of depressive symptoms; it does not yield a diagnosis of depression.
Target Population: Adolescents, between ages 12-18 years.
Administrative Issues: This measure was administered over the phone to adolescents at their homes.
Scoring Information: Responses to items are summed to produce an overall depressive symptoms score that ranges from 6 to 24 points. These scores are increased by 10 to produce a new range of 16 to 34 points. Adolescents who achieve a score of 29 or greater are defined as having notable depressive symptoms. Using this cut-off score, 15% of the teens were identified as having notable depressive symptoms. This rate is consistent with the rate of depressive symptomatology obtained by Kandel and Davies (1982).
Psychometrics: Cronbach's alpha for the entire scale was 0.72.
Clinical Utility of Instrument: This index can helpful in tailoring smoking cessation treatment by identifying adolescents who have notable depressive symptoms.
Research Applicability: Given the co-occurrence of smoking and depressive symptoms, this brief measure of depressive symptoms may be useful in smoking research as a predictor of treatment response, or as a covariate in outcome analyses.
Copyright, Cost, andSource Issues: No charge for use.
Source Reference: Choi, W.S., Patten, C.A., Gillin, J.C., Kaplan, R.M., & Pierce, J.P. (1997). Cigarette smoking predicts development of depressive symptoms among U.S. adolescents. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 19, 42-50.
Supporting References: None
Contact Author: J. P. Pierce, Ph.D.
Contact Information: Cancer Prevention and Control Program
Cancer Center
Mail Code 0901
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0901
  Kandel, D.B. & Davies, M. (1982). Epidemiology of depressive mood in adolescents. Archives of General Psychiatry, 39, 1205-1212.
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Last Updated: May 1, 2012

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