The depression anxiety and stress scales: Reference data from a large psychiatric outpatient sample
The published norms for the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) give results for clinical populations that largely fall in the severe to very severe categories. As a result, within this population, the ability to compare the comparative contributions of the underlying emotional components is reduced. The present study presents results from a large general psychiatric outpatient population and provides percentile norms with confidence intervals for both the original DASS and the shorter 21-item form. It is noted that both forms have high validity but that the correlations between scales are higher than those reported in non-clinical populations. There was little variation between sexes but some variation of results with age with both younger and older cohorts having lower scores except for the Stress scale where there were higher scores in the older group. There is some evidence of a ceiling effect in the Depression and Stress scales. It was noted that nearly a quarter of patient scores fell within the originally defined normal range suggesting that the DASS would not be a particularly sensitive instrument in its previously reported use as a screening instrument for psychiatric illness.