Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC)

Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC)


Below is a list of the ways you might have felt or acted. Please check how much you have felt this way during the past week.

Not At All A Little Some A Lot
1 I was bothered by things that usually don’t bother me. 0 1 2 3
2 I did not feel like eating, I wasn’t very hungry 0 1 2 3
I wasn’t able to feel happy, even when 0 1 2 3
3 my family or friends tried to help me feel
4 I felt like I was just as good as other kids 3 2 1 0
5 I felt like I couldn’t pay attention to what I was doing. 0 1 2 3
6 I felt down and unhappy. 0 1 2 3
7 I felt like I was too tired to do things. 0 1 2 3
8 I felt like something good was going to happen. 3 2 1 0
9 I felt like things I did before didn’t work out right. 0 1 2 3
10 I felt scared. 0 1 2 3
11 I didn’t sleep as well as I usually sleep 0 1 2 3
12 I was happy. 3 2 1 0
13 I was more quiet than usual. 0 1 2 3
14 I felt lonely, like I didn’t have any friends. 0 1 2 3
15 I felt like kids I know were not friendly or that they didn’t want to be with 0 1 2 3
16 I had a good time 3 2 1 0
Not At All A Little Some A Lot
I felt like crying. 0 1 2 3
I felt sad. 0 1 2 3
I felt people didn’t like me. 0 1 2 3
It was hard to get started doing things. 0 1 2 3


The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC) is a 20 item self-report questionnaire for young people between the ages of 6 and 17. It asks young people to rate how many depressive symptoms they have experienced in the last week. This measure is useful for tracking depressive symptoms over time.

Validity and Reliability

Psychometric characteristics of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC) were evaluated with 148 child and adolescent psychiatric inpatients (Faulstich et al., 1986). The sample were diagnosed with major depression, dysthymic disorder or another serious mental disorder requiring an inpatient admission. Psychometric properties were adequate, with an internal consistency of α  =  .89, and sensitivity was 80% with a cutoff score of 15, however the scale was not able to differentiate between inpatients admitted for depression or another mental illness.


Scores are presented as a total raw score and two percentiles. Higher scores represent higher levels of symptoms. The Clinical Percentile represents the respondents score compared to children independently diagnosed with Major Depression or Dysthymia (Faulstich et al., 1990), where a percentile rank of 50 represents a typical score for a depressed young person. The Healthy Percentile represents the respondents scores compared to a sample of children with no identified mental health diagnosis (Faulstich et al., 1990). A percentile of 50 on the Healthy Percentile scale presents a typical score for a healthy young person. As defined by Weissman et al. (1980), a score of 15 or above is considered to be indicative of clinically significant depressive symptoms.


Weissman, M. M., Orvaschel, H., & Padian, N. (1980). Children’s Symptom and Social Functioning Self-Report Scales Comparison of Mothers’ and Children’s Reports. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 168(12), 736-740.

Number Of Questions



Faulstich, M. E., Carey, M. P., Ruggiero, L., Enyart, P., & Gresham, F. (1986). Assessment of depression in childhood and adolescence: An evaluation of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC). The American journal of psychiatry.

Fendrich, M., Weissman, M. M., & Warner, V. (1990). Screening for depressive disorder in children and adolescents: validating the center for epidemiologic studees depression scale for children. American Journal of Epidemiology, 131(3), 538-551.

This content is licensed under a CC-BY license. The CC-BY licenses grant rights of use the scales in your studies (the measurement instrument and its documentation), but do not replace copyright. This remains with the copyright holder, and you have to cite us as the source.

Mohammed Looti, PSYCHOLOGICAL SCALES (2023) Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC). Retrieved from DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31575.96163