Depression Self-Rating Scale (DSRS)

An 18-item, self-rating tool to screen for depressive symptoms and exposure to environmental stressors. Children  shouldcomplete the questionnaire independently, but if a child demonstrates or expresses difficulty in reading the items, a clinician may assist by reading items aloud. All items in the tool contain positive and negative “I” statements (i.e. “I feel like crying”), to which children answer with one of three responses—Mostly, Sometimes, or Never—depending on their personal experiences and feelings relating to the scenarios described. When items describe positive, non-depressive scenarios, (i.e. “I look forward to things as much as I used to”), responses are scored—Mostly (0), Sometimes (1), and Never (2). When items depict depressive symptoms (i.e. “I have bad dreams”), responses are scored—Mostly (2), Sometimes (1), and Never (0). The total possible score on the questionnaire is 36, with a total of 15 or more indicative of mental stress and/or disorder, and the need for diagnostic follow-up. The tool takes about five minutes to complete.

Related Publications

Tol, W. A., Komproe, I. H., Susanty, D., Jordans, M. D., Macy, R. D., & De Jong, J. M. (2008). School-Based Mental Health Intervention for Children Affected by Political Violence in Indonesia: A Cluster Randomized Trial. JAMA, 300(6), 655-662.

Panter-Brick, C., Goodman, A., Tol, W., & Eggerman, M. (2011). Mental Health and Childhood Adversities: A Longitudinal Study in Kabul, Afghanistan. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(4), 349–363.

Fazel, M., Reed, R. V., Panter-Brick, C., & Stein, A. (2012). Mental health of displaced and refugee children resettled in high-income countries: risk and protective factors. The Lancet, 379(9812), 266-282.

What it measures



Children and War Foundation


Children aged 8 to 14 years



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