Geriatric Depression Scale(guide)

There are different scales to measure depression; however, if you are interested in a scale that is created to measure depression in the elderly, you should use the geriatric depression scale (GDS).

In this namesake article, we will present the geriatric depression scale, with its long and short forms.

Geriatric Depression Scale(guide)

About Geriatric Depression Scale

The geriatric depression scale (GDS) is a self-report assessment consisted of 30 questions, which is used to measure depression in the elderly.

The scale was made in 1982 by J.A. Yesavage and others. It has two forms: long and short.

The Long Form of Geriatric Depression Scale 

The long-form of geriatric depression scale is a questionnaire, including 30 questions.

A person must answer the questions yes or no, depending on how he felt during the last week.

Scoring

Each of 30 questions is scored 0 or 1 depending on the correspondence with the scoring scale:

1. NO     6. YES 11. YES    16. YES 21. NO   26. YES

2. YES   7. NO   12. YES 17. YES     22. YES 27. NO

3. YES   8. YES   13. YES 18. YES    23. YES 28. YES

4. YES   9. NO   14. YES 19. NO      24. YES 29. NO 

5. NO     10. YES 15. NO      20. YES 25. YES 30. NO

  • 0-9 – normal (no depression),
  • 10-19 – mild depression,
  • 20-30 – severe depression. 

Geriatric Depression Scale(guide)

The Questionnaire of the Long Form of the Geriatric Depression Scale

Instructions: Choose the best answer for how you felt over the past week:

NoQuestionAnswerScore
1.Are you basically satisfied with your life?YES / NO 
2.Have you dropped many of your activities and interests?YES / NO 
3.Do you feel that your life is empty?YES / NO 
4.Do you often get bored?YES / NO 
5.Are you hopeful about the future?YES / NO 
6.Are you bothered by thoughts you cannot get out of your head?YES / NO 
7.Are you in good spirits most of the time?YES / NO 
8.Are you afraid that something bad is going to happen to you?YES / NO 
9.Do you feel happy most of the time?YES / NO 
10.Do you often feel helpless?YES / NO 
11.Do you often get restless and fidgety?YES / NO 
12.Do you prefer to stay at home, rather than going out and doing new things?YES / NO 
13.Do you frequently worry about the future?YES / NO 
14.Do you feel you have more problems with memory than most?YES / NO 
15.Do you think it is wonderful to be alive now?YES / NO 
16.Do you often feel downhearted and blue?YES / NO 
17.Do you feel pretty worthless the way you are now?YES / NO 
18.Do you worry a lot about the past?YES / NO 
19.Do you find life very exciting?YES / NO 
20.Is it hard for you to get started on new projects?YES / NO 
21.Do you feel full of energy?YES / NO 
22.Do you feel that your situation is hopeless?YES / NO 
23.Do you think that most people are better off than you are?YES / NO 
24.Do you frequently get upset over little things?YES / NO 
25.Do you frequently feel like crying?YES / NO 
26.Do you have trouble concentrating?YES / NO 
27.Do you enjoy getting up in the morning?YES / NO 
28.Do you prefer to avoid social gatherings?YES / NO 
29.Is it easy for you to make decisions?YES / NO 
30.Is your mind as clear as it used to be?YES / NO 
TOTAL 

The Short Form of the Geriatric Depression Scale

The short form of the geriatric depression scale was made in 1986.

It consists of 15 questions; the questions were chosen from the long-form, basing on their highest correspondence with depressive symptoms (in validation studies). 

Scoring

Of the 15 questions, ten evidence about the presence of depression when are answered positively (yes), while the other questions (question numbers 1, 5, 7, 11, 13) indicated depression if were answered negatively.

  • 0-4 – normal;
  • 5-8 – mild depression;
  • 9-11 – moderate depression;
  • 12-15 – severe depression.
Geriatric Depression Scale(guide)

The Questionnaire of the Short Form of the Geriatric Depression Scale 

Instructions: Choose the best answer for how you have felt over the past week:

  1. Are you basically satisfied with your life? YES / NO
  2. Have you dropped many of your activities and interests? YES / NO
  3. Do you feel that your life is empty? YES / NO
  4. Do you often get bored? YES / NO
  5. Are you in good spirits most of the time? YES / NO
  6. Are you afraid that something bad is going to happen to you? YES / NO
  7. Do you feel happy most of the time? YES / NO
  8. Do you often feel helpless? YES / NO
  9. Do you prefer to stay at home, rather than going out and doing new things? YES / NO
  10. Do you feel you have more problems with memory than most? YES / NO
  11. Do you think it is wonderful to be alive now? YES / NO
  12. Do you feel pretty worthless the way you are now? YES / NO
  13. Do you feel full of energy? YES / NO
  14. Do you feel that your situation is hopeless? YES / NO
  15. Do you think that most people are better off than you are? YES / NO 

Recommended books and sources

  1. Assessment Scales in Depression, Mania, and Anxiety
  2. Depression in Later Life: An Essential Guide
  3. Factors of the Geriatric Depression Scale that may distinguish between four cognitive diagnostic groups: Normal, mild cognitive impairment, dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, and vascular dementia
  4. HFNE “Hamilton Depression Scale”
  5. HFNE “IQ Scale”

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Geriatric Depression Scale(guide)

Conclusion

The geriatric depression scale (GDS) is a self-report assessment consisted of 30 questions, which is used to measure depression in the elderly.

The scale was made in 1982 by J.A. Yesavage and others.

It has two forms: long and short.

The long-form of geriatric depression scale is a questionnaire, including 30 questions.

A person must answer the questions yes or no, depending on how he felt during the last week.

The short form of the geriatric depression scale was made in 1986. It consists of 15 questions; the questions were chosen from the long-form, basing on their highest correspondence with depressive symptoms (in validation studies). 

Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

  1. Yesavage JA, Brink TL, Rose TL, et al. Development and validation of a geriatric depression screening scale: a preliminary report. J Psychiatr Res 1983; 17:37-49.
  2. The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) By Sherry A. Greenberg, Ph.D., RN, GNP-BC, Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing

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