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Geriatric Depression Scale

Geriatric Depression Scale

What is GDS

The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a self-rating depression screening scale for elderly populations. The GDS is specifically designed to screen and measure depression in older adults. It contains 30 forced-choice “yes” or “no” questions, a format that is helpful for individuals with cognitive dysfunction. Questions relate to how an individual has felt in a specified time frame. It takes five to seven minutes to complete the questionnaire.

GDS Printable PDF

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GDS Scoring and Interpretation

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What does GDS measure

The purpose of the evaluation is to:

  • screen and measure depression in older adults.



Type of outcome tool


Assessment modes


Age and eligibility

Over 55 years

Estimated time

5-7 minutes


Since the questionnaire relies on client self-report, all responses should be verified by the clinician, and a definitive diagnosis is made on clinical grounds taking into account how well the client understood the questionnaire, as well as other relevant information from the client.

The GDS is not a diagnostic tool. Positive results on the GDS on screening should be followed up by a clinical interview if significant levels of depressive symptomatology are found and treatment is being considered. GDS is not a substitute for observer-rated scales or indepth diagnostic interviews.

It remains to be determined if the GDS may be useful for measuring changes in the severity of depression following treatment. GDS has not yet shown to be treatment sensitive.

Attribution and References

Yesavage, J.A., Brink, T.L., Rose, T.L., Lum, O., Huang, V., Adey, M., & Leirer, V.O. (1982-1983). Development and validation of a Geriatric Depression Screening Scale: A preliminary report. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 17(1), 37-49.