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Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale


Zung, WW (1965)

Background and Development:

The Zung SDS was designed for assessing depression in patients whose primary diagnoses were that of a depressive disorder.  The scale should be all inclusive with respect to symptoms of the illness, it should be short and simple, it should quantitate rather than qualitate, and it should be self-administered and indicate the patient's own response at the time the scale is taken.  The 20 items of the scale address each of the four most commonly found characteristics of depression: the pervasive effect, the physiological equivalents, other disturbances, and psychomotor activities.  Ten items are worded positively and ten items are worded negatively.  Each item is scored on a scale of 1-4 (a little of the time - most of the time) with revers scaling for the negatively worded items.  This yields an overall score of 20-80 and a converted SDS Index score of 0.25 to 1.00.

In an analysis of the discriminatory power of the Zung SDS, scores for clinically depressed patients were significantly higher than normal controls.  The mean index score for a group of patients who had gone through a treatment program was significantly lower after the program (0.39) than before (0.74).

Assessment of the Measure in Elderly Populations

No studies pertaining to the assessment of the Zung SDS in elderly populations have been found.

Assessment of the Measure in Minority Populations

No studies pertaining to the assessment of the Zung SDS in minority populations have been found.

Design Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Zung SDS is a short and easy to administer survey to quantify the depressed status of a patient.  It was created on a background of understanding the various facets of depression.

Contact Information:

The Zung SDS and the method of scoring can be found in the publication.


Zung, WW (1965) A self-rating depression scale. Arch Gen Psychiatry 12, 63-70.

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