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How to Measure Depression? 10 Scales of Depression

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On the one hand, it takes no time for someone to pass a remark on a person with depression and on the other, for clinicians, it takes so much time to conclude a diagnosis for which they are trained for years. What do you think about having scales for measuring depression, can we really measure depression? In this you will learn about How to measure Depression? 10 Scales of Depression that are used for clinical measurement of depression. For those new to my channel, Hi, My name is Linda Ashok and you are watching MusterMynd.

Ever since I decided to study Psychology, I have had no moment of regret but this renewed sense of being every time I learn about how mental health doctors, therapists, researchers, and academicians are developing  measures for more accurate and custom treatments for people with mental health issues. It gives me goosebumps to think of being a part of the mental healthcare community and someday unburden people with mental health issues with proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Anyway, so, talking about scales of depression. Yes, psychology is science and science cannot do away with measurements. And so these scales, designed to gauge the severity and nature of depressive symptoms, are integral for diagnosis, research, and monitoring treatment efficacy. I will not dive too deep in to the design of each scale but give you an overview of 10 of the most widely-used scales in the realm of depression:

  1. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI): Developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck, the BDI is a 21-item self-report scale that assesses the severity of depression in adults and adolescents. It’s known for its simplicity and is widely used in both clinical and research settings.
  2. Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D): The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, abbreviated HDRS, HRSD or HAM-D, measures depression in individuals before, during and after treatment. The scale is administered by health care professionals and contains 21 items, but is scored based on the first 17 items, which are measured either on 5-point or 3-point scales.
  3. Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9): The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) is a self-report measure designed to screen depressive symptoms. It takes one to five minutes to complete and roughly the same amount of time for a clinician to review the responses. The PHQ-9 is available in multiple languages.
  4. Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS): A clinician-rated scale, the MADRS comprises ten items, each rated on a seven-point scale. It’s designed to be sensitive to changes in symptom severity, making it particularly useful for assessing the efficacy of antidepressant treatments.
  5. Social Problem-Solving Inventory-Revised (SPSI-RTM)-The Social Problem-Solving Inventory-Revised (SPSI-RTM) is a self-report measure of social problem-solving strengths and weaknesses in individuals 13 years old and older. The revised version has both a 52 long form and 25 short form questions.
  6. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): Tailored specifically for older adults, the GDS is a self-report scale available in both short-form (15 items) and long-form (30 items) versions. It focuses on the mood-related signs of depression, intentionally excluding somatic symptoms.
  7. Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI): As the name suggests, this self-report scale is designed for school-aged children and adolescents. It’s useful for assessing signs of depression in younger populations, covering areas like mood, interpersonal relationships, and school performance.
  8. Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS): Specifically designed for postnatal depression, this ten-item self-report scale helps to identify women who may be suffering from postpartum depression. It’s beneficial for its focus on this particular and significant life phase.
  9. Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (QIDS): Available in both clinician-rated and self-report formats, the QIDS evaluates nine domains of depressive symptomatology. It’s recognized for its ability to detect symptom changes over time.
  10. Bipolar Depression Rating Scale (BDRS): Tailored for bipolar disorder, the BDRS assesses the symptoms of depression specifically within the context of this condition. It considers the unique manifestations of depression that appear in bipolar disorder, differentiating it from unipolar depression.

By now, it is clear to you that it is not as easy as calling someone a little bit or very much depressed. By the way, do check my shorts on the difference between depressed and depression. Moving on, these scales of depression play a pivotal role in research, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring and they form a part of a broader clinical assessment process in which an individual’s history, context, and comprehensive evaluation are all taken into consideration. Now if you would like me to study more and bring to you more invaluable insights from the world of mental health, consider SUBSCRIBING to this channel. My hours of hard work would feel duly compensated with your love and encouragement through comments, shares, and like. Until next, only trust a clinician to measure your depression, and no one else. Take care.

Linda Ashok

Linda Ashok is an India English Poet & Polymath. She is a mental health advocate studying Psychology from IGNOU'25.