Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2012 Dec;51(12):1284-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2012.09.003. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Validating the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children in Rwanda.

Author information

Research Program on Children and Global Adversity, François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health, 651 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



We assessed the validity of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC) as a screen for depression in Rwandan children and adolescents. Although the CES-DC is widely used for depression screening in high-income countries, its validity in low-income and culturally diverse settings, including sub-Saharan Africa, is unknown.


The CES-DC was selected based on alignment with local expressions of depression-like problems in Rwandan children and adolescents. To examine criterion validity, we compared CES-DC scores to depression diagnoses on a structured diagnostic interview, the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Children (MINI KID), in a sample of 367 Rwandan children and adolescents aged 10 through 17 years. Caregiver and child or adolescent self-reports endorsing the presence of local depression-like problems agahinda kenshi (persistent sorrow) and kwiheba (severe hopelessness) were also examined for agreement with MINI KID diagnosis.


The CES-DC exhibited good internal reliability (α = .86) and test-retest reliability (r = .85). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the CES-DC was 0.825 when compared to MINI KID diagnoses, indicating a strong ability to distinguish between depressed and nondepressed children and adolescents in Rwanda. A cut point of≥30 corresponded with a sensitivity of 81.9% and a specificity of 71.9% in this referred sample. MINI KID diagnosis was well aligned with local expressions of depression-like problems.


The CES-DC demonstrates good psychometric properties for clinical screening and evaluation in Rwanda, and should be considered for use in this and other low-resource settings. Population samples are needed to determine a generalizable cut point in nonreferred samples.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center