The Dysfunctional Attitude Scale: How well can it measure depressive thinking?

Linda D. Nelson, Stephen L. Stern, Dominic V. Cicchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS) was designed to measure patterns of maladaptive thinking held by depressed individuals. Despite its wide use as a research and clinical tool, only a few studies to date were designed to examine its psychometric properties in a clinically depressed population. Moreover, problems of low sample size and limited tests of validity call these findings into question. The present study was designed to examine psychometric properties of the DAS in clinically depressed inpatients and in nondepressed clinical controls. Intertest correlations between the DAS parallel forms and between each form with total test scores ranged from r=.84 to r=.97. Intratest stability coefficients were r=.88 to r=.97. Support for the DAS as a valid measure of dysfunctional cognitions in depressed patients was also indicated. Of those scoring high on the DAS, 73% received an independent RDC diagnosis of clinical depression, while only 36% of those receiving low DAS scores were so diagnosed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • attitude
  • cognitive
  • depression
  • measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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