The Center for Epidemiologic Studies of Depression Scale (CES-D) was designed to measure current level of depressive symptomatology, and especially depressive affect . The 20 items were chosen from five (5) previously used Depression scales to represent all major components of Depressive symptomatology.
These include: depressed mood, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, and psychomotor retardation. Each item is rated on 4-point scales indicating the degree of their occurrence during the last week. The scales range from "rarely or none of the time" to "most all of the time." The scale can distinguish between clinical groups and general community groups. Although it is usually scored continuously, there are various cut-off scores for Clinical depression with reasonable associations between cut-off scores and a clinical diagnosis. The reader is referred to Insel (1986) for an excellent overview of the CES-D including suggestions for cut-off scores.