Psychological Medicine

Short Communication


(Criterion validity of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D): results from a community-based sample of older subjects in the Netherlands)

A. T. F. BEEKMAN a1, D. J. H. DEEG a1, J. VAN LIMBEEK a1, A. W. BRAAM a1, M. Z. DE VRIES a1 and W. VAN TILBURG a1
a1 Department of Psychiatry of the Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands


The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D) has been widely used in studies of late-life depression. Psychometric properties are generally favourable, but data on the criterion validity of the CES-D in elderly community-based samples are lacking. In a sample of older (55–85 years) inhabitants of the Netherlands, 487 subjects were selected to study criterion validity of the CES-D. Using the 1-month prevalence of major depression derived from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) as criterion, the weighted sensitivity of the CES-D was 100%; specificity 88%; and positive predictive value 13·2%. False positives were not more likely among elderly with physical illness, cognitive decline or anxiety. We conclude that the criterion validity of the CES-D for major depression was very satisfactory in this sample of older adults.

Address for correspondence: Dr Aartjan T. F. Beekman, Department of Psychiatry, Valerius Clinic, Valeriusplein 9, 1075 BG Amsterdam, The Netherlands.