George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis
Center for Mental Health Services Research

CMHSR Measures Collection

Children's Depression Inventory (CDI)

Location: F29

AUTHORS: Kovacs, 1983

Measures the domains of affect, behavior and cognitive in children

SUBJECTS: Psychiatrically hospitalized children and normal children, ages 7 to 17 years.

ADMINISTRATION: Self-report.  It takes 10 to 20 minutes to be completed.

Adapted originally from the Beck Depression Inventory, the CDI is a 27-item self-rated, symptom-oriented scale on which the child chooses the one alternative out of three presented that best described his/her own feelings/ideas for the past two weeks.

Its high internal consistency (Chronbach's alpha > .80) has been demonstrated (Oster and Caro, 1990).  Nelson and Politano (1990) assessed the test-retest reliability of the CDI in 96 psychiatrically hospitalized children (ages 6-15).  All subjects completed the CDI initially and after 10 and 30 day intervals.  Stability coefficients for the overall group ranged from .62 for the shorter interval down to .47 for the longer one.  In addition, the test-retest reliability coefficients in 108 normal 7-12 year old children ranged from.82 over 2 weeks to .66 for longer intervals (4 and 6 weeks) (Finch, Saylor, Edwards, and McIntosh, 1987).

The CDI has been successful in distinguishing between clinical and nonclinical groups.  Hodges (1990) also found evidence for its convergent and discriminant validity.  However, Wendel, Nelson, Politano, and Mayhall (1988) administered the CDI within 3 days of admission of 125 children diagnosed as affective disordered and 150 children diagnosed as conduct disordered (mean age 13 years 7 months) and to 1266 normal children (aged 6-18).  Results suggest a marginal degree of criterion validity for the CDI and indicate that it should not be used as a sole basis for diagnostic decisions.

Finch, A.J., Saylor, C.F., Edwards, G.L. and McIntosh, J.A. (1987). Children's Depression Inventory: Reliability over
    repeated administrations. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 16(4), 339-341.

Nelson, W.M. and Politano, P.M. (1990). Children's Depression Inventory: Stability over repeated administrations in
    psychiatric inpatient children. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19(3), 254-256.

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