Geriatric Depression Scale

Objective[edit | edit source]

The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a patient-reported outcome measure created by Yesavage et al. in 1982 to screen for depressive symptoms among older adults.[1][2] The GDS is a multidimensional, multidisciplinary diagnostic and therapeutic activity that helps find patients at risk of/with depression.[3]

Depression is a serious and prevalent condition amongst older people. Depression in the elderly often overlooked and missed in assessment, delaying treatment and leading to possible harmful consequences. A robust tool that screens for depression can be an invaluable tool[3].

Originally, this screening tool has 30 items, but several shorter versions were also developed: GDS 15, GDS 10 and GDS 4.

Intended Population[edit | edit source]

The scale is intended for the geriatric population (aged 60 years or more). It can be used for healthy, medically ill, and cognitively impaired older adults.[4]

Method of Use[edit | edit source]

Equipment required: Questionnaire and pen

Instructions: Choose between yes or no regarding how you felt over the past week


GDS 30

  • 0 - 9 = Normal
  • 10 - 19 = Mild Depression
  • 20 - 30 Severe Depression

GDS 15

  • 0-4 = Normal
  • 5-8 = Mild Depression
  • 9-11 = Moderate Depression
  • 12-15 = Severe Depression

Evidence[edit | edit source]

Reliability[edit | edit source]

  • Studies reported GDS 30 and GDS 15 to have excellent internal consistency, both having Cronbach alpha coefficient of 0.92.[5][6]
  • Limited studies are found about GDS 10 and GDS 4. Further research is needed to establish the reliability of these shorter forms.

Validity[edit | edit source]

In a 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis, all versions of GDS were found to be useful for determining depression among older adults:[1]

GDS version Sensitivity Specificity
GDS 30 82% 76%
GDS 15 86% 79%
GDS 10 87% 75%
GDS 4 74% 71%

Links[edit | edit source]

GDS 30

GDS 15

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Krishnamoorthy Y, Rajaa S, Rehman T. Diagnostic accuracy of various forms of geriatric depression scale for screening of depression among older adults: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2020 Mar 1;87:104002.
  2. Stone LE, Granier KL, Segal DL. Geriatric depression scale. In Encyclopedia of gerontology and population aging 2022 May 24 (pp. 2112-2119). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ju Y, Liu T, Zhang K, Lin X, Zheng E, Leng J. The relationship between Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment parameters and depression in elderly patients. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 2022;14.Available: Accessed 26.4.2023
  4. Yesavage JA, Brink TL, Rose TL, Lum O, Huang V, Adey M, Leirer VO. Development and validation of a geriatric depression screening scale: a preliminary report. Journal of psychiatric research. 1982 Jan 1;17(1):37-49.
  5. Durmaz B, Soysal P, Ellidokuz H, Isik AT. Validity and reliability of geriatric depression scale-15 (short form) in Turkish older adults. North Clin Istanb. 2018 Sep 1;5(3):216-20.
  6. Ertan FS, Ertan T, Kızıltan G, Uygucgil H. Reliability and validity of the Geriatric Depression Scale in depression in Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. 2005 Oct 1;76(10):1445-7.