Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 217–223

The Dysfunctional Attitude Scale: How well can it measure depressive thinking?

  • Linda D. Nelson
  • Stephen L. Stern
  • Dominic V. Cicchetti

DOI: 10.1007/BF00962629

Cite this article as:
Nelson, L.D., Stern, S.L. & Cicchetti, D.V. J Psychopathol Behav Assess (1992) 14: 217. doi:10.1007/BF00962629


The Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS) was designed to measure patterns of maladaptive thinking held by depressed individuals. Despite its wide use as a research and clinical tool, only a few studies to date were designed to examine its psychometric properties in a clinically depressed population. Moreover, problems of low sample size and limited tests of validity call these findings into question. The present study was designed to examine psychometric properties of the DAS in clinically depressed inpatients and in nondepressed clinical controls. Intertest correlations between the DAS parallel forms and between each form with total test scores ranged from r=.84 to r=.97. Intratest stability coefficients were r=.88 to r=.97. Support for the DAS as a valid measure of dysfunctional cognitions in depressed patients was also indicated. Of those scoring high on the DAS, 73% received an independent RDC diagnosis of clinical depression, while only 36% of those receiving low DAS scores were so diagnosed.

Key words


Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda D. Nelson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephen L. Stern
    • 3
  • Dominic V. Cicchetti
    • 4
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaIrvine
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryMedical CenterOrange
  3. 3.Ohio State UniversityColumbus
  4. 4.Veterans Administration Medical CenterWest Haven