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The CES-D as a screen for depression and other psychiatric disorders in adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Epidermiology and Biostatistics, University of South Carolina, Columbia 29208.


The performance of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) as a screen for depression was explored in a two-stage epidemiological study of adolescents. The study consisted of a CES-D screening stage completed by a school sample of 2,465 young adolescents and a structured psychiatric interview stage completed by 332 mother-adolescent pairs. Adolescents with interview validated depression had elevated screening scores (mean = 31.10, SD = 11.30) compared with individuals with no disorder (mean = 21.01, SD = 11.77). Using receiver operating characteristic curves, a cut point of 12 for males produced the best overall screening characteristics (sensitivity = 0.85, specificity = 0.49), while for females, a cut point of 22 was optimal (sensitivity = 0.83, specificity = 0.77).

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