Psychometric validation of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale in Head and Neck Cancer patients

K. S. Chhabria, G. D. Carnaby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) is a 20-item tool developed to screen for depression in the general population. To psychometrically evaluate and validate the CES-D scale for use in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients. Methods The CES-D was applied to 130 subjects at onset of radiation treatment and 3-months following treatment. Analysis was conducted via face and content validity using two expert raters, internal consistency was applied using Cronbach's alpha, test retest reliability comparing baseline to 3-month application, concurrent validity was performed against the FACT-H&N and Pain Disability Index, construct validity was conducted via exploratory factor analysis. Results The sample was predominantly male receiving chemo radiation. Face validity was strong (α = 0.85). Significant difference was found in the mean score between depressed (CES-D cut point ≥ 16) vs. non-depressed (t = −15.84, p =.00) (95% CI = −17.18, −13.33). Internal consistency of the scale was high (α = 0.84). Test retest reliability (p <.001) showed moderate-strong correlations (0.51), however was not sensitive to change in this sample across the study time period. Concurrent validity was strong (r = −0.77, 0.51). Factor analysis at baseline explained 54.92% of variance, with 3 distinct factors; depressed affect, somatic/retarded activity, and positive affect. In contrast to general populations, the factor ‘disturbed interpersonal skill’ was not retained. Conclusion Results confirm the reliability and validity of the CES-D as a measure of depression in HNC populations. Proposed cut off scores remain stable but scale responsiveness suggests caution when evaluating change over time in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-162
Number of pages5
JournalOral Oncology
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • CES-D
  • Center for epidemiologic studies depression scale
  • Depression
  • Exploratory factor analysis
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Psychometric validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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