Children's Depression Inventory (CDI)
Purpose: Designed for assessment of self-rating of depressive symptoms in children.

Population: Children, aged 7 through 17 years.

Score: Total Score, Five Scale A: Negative Mood, B: Interpersonal Problems, C: Ineffectiveness, D: Anhedonia, and E: Negative Self Esteem.

Time:  (15) minutes or less.

Author: Maria Kovacs

Publisher: Mental Health Systems

Description: The CDI has been designed to measure self-rated assessment of depressive symptoms for school aged children and adolescents.  There are 27 items quantifying symptoms such as depressed mood, hedonic capacity, vegetative functions self–evaluation and interpersonal behaviors.  It covers the consequences of depression as they relate to children and functioning in school and with peers. A short form with 10 items can be used when a quick screening is necessary.  While both forms are reported to give comparable results, the longer form provides factor scores and generally gives a more robust description of the child’s symptoms.  The reading level of the CDI is at the first grade level, the lowest of any measure of depression for children.

Scoring: For each item the child has three possible answers; 0 indicating an absence of symptoms, 1 indicating mild symptoms, and 2, definite symptoms. The total score can range from 0 to 54. The CDI can be administered using a QuickScoreTM Form to assist in scoring and transforming the scores to a profile. Factor scores are calculated by adding the scores for each letter assigned to each item. Total scores and factor scores converted to t scores on the profile form. The CDI can also be administered and scored using a microcomputer, or administered using paper forms and scored using the computer program.

Reliability: Internal consistency reliability has been found to be good, with coefficients ranging from .71 to .89 with various samples.  Test-retest reliability correlations appear to be acceptable.  It is however expected that the symptoms of depression would change over time, and regression to the mean is associated with repeated testing over time.

Validity:  Numerous research studies have supported the CDI as assessing important constructs both for explanatory and predictive uses for characterizing symptoms of depression in children and adolescents.  Studies of discriminant validity found significant differences of Negative Mood factor scores (p < .05) but no significant difference for total CDI scores among a sample of 134 children and adolescents with various depressive disorders.  Some studies report the CDI to successfully distinguish normals from diagnostic categories, while other studies have been less favorable, and it is agreed that more research on the discriminant validity is needed for the CDI.

Norms: The normative sample included 1266 public school students from Florida in grades 2 through 8.  There were 592 boys between the ages of 7 and 15, and 674 girls ages 7 to 16. Assuming the sample to be representative of the total demographics of the school, it is estimated that 77% were white, and 23% African American, Native American, or Hispanic.  The population was mostly middle class, and about 20% of the students were from single homes.  Separate norms were developed for two groups based on ages, (7-12, and 13-17) as developmental trends result in higher scores for the older group.

Suggested use:  The CDI measures severity of symptoms of depression in children and adolescents. The inventory should be used with other assessment instruments for diagnosis and monitoring treatment progress.