The Short Form of the Geriatric Depression Scale: A Comparison With the 30-Item Form

William J. Burke, W. H. Roccaforte, Steven P. Wengel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

594 Scopus citations


The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) exists in both short and long forms. The original 30-item form of the GDS has been shown to be an effective screening test for depression in a variety of settings. However, its utility in patients with demen tia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) is questionable. The short, 15-item version of the GDS was developed primarily for brev ity and, in particular, for use in populations such as the medically ill or those with dementia, where the longer form might be burdensome. How well this short form works in these populations, however, is largely undetermined. In this paper, the sensitivity and specificity of the 15- and 30-item GDS are compared in a group of patients who were either cognitively intact or had mild D.A.T. The findings suggest that the short version of the GDS, like its longer prede cessor, is an effective screening tool in the cognitively intact. However, in a population of subjects with mild DAT, it does not appear to retain its validity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-178
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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