What is the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Test?
The Depression, Anxiety and Stress Test is a questionnaire designed to measure the three related negative emotional states of depression, anxiety and stress. The test uses a three scale rating system to measure the severity of a range of symptoms related to depression, anxiety and stress. In effect the test is a Depression Test, Anxiety Test, and Stress Test all in a single test. The test was developed by medical professionals and is designed to meet the scientific requirements of both researchers and professional clinicians. The test is suitable for both adolescents and adults.
The test is based on participant responses to a set of 42 questions, made up of questions relating to each of the three scales. This self-report test is not just designed to measure conventionally defined emotional states, but to enable participants in further defining, understanding, and measuring these significant emotional states and to facilitate the monitoring of these states over time.
- The Depression Scale assesses dysphoria, hopelessness, devaluation of life, self-deprecation, lack of interest/involvement, anhedonia, and inertia.
- The Anxiety Scale assesses autonomic arousal, skeletal muscle effects, situational anxiety, and subjective experience of anxious affect.
- The Stress Scale is sensitive to levels of chronic non-specific arousal. It assesses difficulty relaxing, nervous arousal, and being easily upset/agitated, irritable/over-reactive and impatient.
How Does the Test Work?
The Depression, Anxiety and Stress Test is made up of a series of 42 questions which includes questions relating to each of the three emotional states. Participants are asked to work through each question indicating the extent to which they have experienced a particular symptom or state over the past week. Each question uses a 4-point severity/frequency scale to rate the presence of one of the negative emotional states for a participant. The participants are asked to use the following rating scale in responding to each question:
- Did not apply to me at all
- Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time
- Applied to me to a considerable degree, or a good part of time
- Applied to me very much, or most of the time
The scores for each of the negative emotional states are calculated by summing the scores from each of the relevant items. An individual's levels of depression, anxiety and stress are assessed on the following levels of severity:
- Extremely severe
Upon completing the test, participants are provided with a summary of their scores, including an indication of their levels compared with the average. Further information on each of the negative emotional states is also provided based on the participant's scores.
Using the Test for Diagnosis
The Depression Anxiety and Stress Test is designed as an initial assessment tool to contribute to the diagnosis of negative emotional states, it is not designed as a comprehensive diagnostic tool. Not every symptom associated with depression, anxiety or stress can be covered by the test and therefore a clinical examination by a medical professional may also be required.
The test can be administered and scored by individuals, but decisions based on particular score profiles for the treatment and management of negative emotional states should be made only by experienced professionals who have carried out an appropriate examination. Participants receiving high scores on the test or who require further information or assistance should seek the advice of a medical professional immediately.
It is also important to note that none of the questions in the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Test refers to suicidal tendencies and therefore suicidality in not assessed in this test. If you feel that you may be at risk or have any thoughts about harming yourself or others then please seek immediate help from a medical professional.