Initially introduced as the DASS – 42, a self-report questionnaire measured on 4 Likert ratings assessing the levels of severity of depression, anxiety and stress. The DASS takes a dimensional approach rather than a categorical (P.F. Lovibond, & S.H. Lovibond,1995; Psychology Foundation of Australia, 2014).
Originally developed at the university of New South Wales, Australia. First developed by using a sample of 1st year psychology students. Shortly after, the revised version of the DASS-21 was developed to reduce administration and test-taker time. The DASS-21 has 7 items designated to each subscale of depression, anxiety and stress.
The DASS has been widely used in both clinical and non- clinical samples and showed excellent reliability and validity across both the clinical and non-clinical samples. Many studies, using factor analysis have confirmed that the items all load accurately making up each subscale of depression, anxiety and stress. The DASS shouldn’t be used to simply diagnose a person with depression as it’s important to for the clinician to use their clinical judgement and expertise as well.
The tool has been translated in different cultures such as variety of Asian cultures. However, due to it being standardised and developed within a westernised framework, it has been suggested that it’s validity may be comprised when employed in collectivist cultures. This is because collectivist cultures perception of depression, stress and anxiety is somewhat different.
Lovibond, P.F, & Lovibond, S, H. (1995). The structure of negative emotional states: comparison of the depression anxiety stress scales (DASS) with the Beck depression and anxiety inventories. Journal of Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33 (3).