Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale - 11-Item (KADS-11)

The Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale - 11-Item (KADS-11) is a clinical assessment tool specifically designed to diagnose and assess the severity of depressive episodes in adolescents. Developed to address the unique aspects of mood disorders in younger populations, the KADS-11 offers a concise yet effective approach for mental health professionals to identify depression in teenagers. Its focus on adolescent-specific factors makes it a particularly relevant tool in both school-based and clinical settings.

Comprised of eleven questions, the KADS-11 measures symptoms of depression that are commonly experienced by adolescents. The scale prompts respondents to consider their feelings over the past week, including changes in mood, behavior, and cognition. Each item on the questionnaire is scored on a scale from 0 to 3, with higher scores indicating more severe depressive symptoms. The total score can then be used to evaluate the presence and intensity of depression, guiding further diagnostic and therapeutic decisions.

The design of the KADS-11 is grounded in clinical research and draws on existing diagnostic criteria from major health organizations. This foundation ensures that the scale not only aligns with professional standards but also remains sensitive to the subtle ways depression can manifest in adolescents. Additionally, the KADS-11 is structured to be self-administered, allowing for ease of use in various environments. This self-reporting format encourages honesty and self-reflection among teens, often leading to more accurate representations of their emotional and mental states.

The Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale has been shown to be a reliable tool for detecting depression in adolescents. Its straightforward format and sensitivity to the adolescent experience contribute to its effectiveness in clinical and educational settings alike, supporting timely and appropriate mental health interventions for young individuals.

The 11-item version of the KADS presented here is optimized for monitoring outcomes in adolescents (12-17 years) who are receiving treatment for major depressive disorder. Its items are worded using standard and colloquial terminology, and responses are scored on a simple 4 choice scale.

Over the last week, how have you been “on average” or “usually” regarding the following items.

  1. Low mood, sadness, feeling blah or down, depressed, just can’t be bothered.
  2. Irritable, loosing your temper easily, feeling pissed off, loosing it.
  3. Sleep difficulties - different from your usual (over the years before you got sick): trouble falling asleep, lying awake in bed.
  4. Feeling decreased interest in: hanging out with friends; being with your best friend; being with your boyfriend/girlfriend; going out of the house; doing school work or work; doing hobbies or sports or recreation.
  5. Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, letting people down, not being a good person.
  6. Feeling tired, feeling fatigued, low in energy, hard to get motivated, have to push to get things done, want to rest or lie down a lot.
  7. Trouble concentrating, can’t keep your mind on schoolwork or work, daydreaming when you should be working, hard to focus when reading, getting “bored” with work or school.
  8. Feeling that life is not very much fun, not feeling good when usually (before getting sick) would feel good, not getting as much pleasure from fun things as usual (before getting sick).
  9. Feeling worried, nervous, panicky, tense, keyed up, anxious.
  10. Physical feelings of worry like: headaches, butterflies, nausea, tingling, restlessness, diarrhea, shakes or tremors.
  11. Thoughts, plans or actions about suicide or self-harm.
  1. , , . . 13(3): J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 337-49 ().
  2. , . . 13(3): J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 351-400 ().
  3. , , , . . 12(2): J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 113-26 ().