Geriatric Depression Scale, Short Form

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The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a patient-reported outcome measure created by Yesavage et al. in 1982 to screen for depressive symptoms among older adults.


The scale is intended for the geriatric population (aged 60 years or more). It can be used for healthy, medically ill, and cognitively impaired older adults.


The original GDS is a 30-item yes/no self-report questionnaire. Each item is scored 0 to 1 for a total score range of 0 to 30. Recommended cutoffs for the full-scale version range from 10–16.

A 15-item short form of the GDS (Lesher & Berryhill, 1994; Sheikh & Yesavage, 1986) retains the same “yes/no” format and the same ratio of positively- and negatively-worded items. A cutoff of five is recommended.

Although the short form may be useful when time constraints or fatigue are issues, the longer form appears to be more reliable and valid (Stiles & McGarrahan, 1998).

Method of Use

The Questionnaire include Yes/No questions, can be accomplished by interview (may be through telephone), or self report. The 15-item version takes about 5−7 minutes to complete.


GDS-L (30)

  • 0 – 9 = Normal
  • 10 – 19 = Mild Depression
  • 20 – 30 = Severe Depression

GDS-S (15)

  • 0-4 = Normal
  • 5-8 = Mild Depression
  • 9-11 = Moderate Depression
  • 12-15 = Severe Depression

Below is Geriatric Depression Scale questionnaire (GDS – S).

Use the following EVALUATION FORM to evaluate your patient and PRINT THE FORM when the evaluation is completed.


  1. Yesavage JA, Brink TL, Rose TL, Lum O, Huang V, Adey M, Leirer VO. Development and validation of a geriatric depression screening scale: a preliminary report. Journal of psychiatric research. 1982 Jan 1;17(1):37-49.
  2. Gaugler, J. E., Reese, M., & Mittelman, M. S. (2015). Effects of the Minnesota adaptation of the NYU Caregiver Intervention on depressive symptoms and quality of life for adult child caregivers of persons with dementia. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23(11), 1179-1192, doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2015.06.007
  3. Marwijk, H. W, Wallace, P., de Bock, G. H., Hermans, J., Kaptein, A. A., & Mulder, J. D. (1995). Evaluation of the feasibility, reliability and diagnostic value of shortened versions of the Geriatric Depression Scale. British Journal of General Practice, 45, 195-199.
  4. Parmelee, P., Lawton, M., & Katz, I. (1989). Psychometric properties of the Geriatric Depression Scale among the institutionalized aged. Psychological Assessment, 1(4), 331-338.
  5. Sheikh, J. I., & Yesavage, J. A. (1986). Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): Recent evidence and development of a shorter version. Clinical Gerontologist, 5, 165-173.

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