The short form version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21): Construct validity and normative data in a large non-clinical sample

J. D. Henry, John Robertson Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2415 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives. To test the construct validity of the short-form version of the Depression anxiety and stress scale (DASS-21), and in particular, to assess whether stress as indexed by this measure is synonymous with negative affectivity (NA) or whether it represents a related, but distinct, construct. To provide normative data for the general adult population.

Design. Cross-sectional, correlational and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA).

Methods. The DASS-21 was administered to a non-clinical sample, broadly representative of the general adult UK population (N = 1, 794). Competing models of the latent structure of the DASS-21 were evaluated using CFA.

Results. The model with optimal fit (RCFI = 0.94) had a quadripartite structure, and consisted of a general factor of psychological distress plus orthogonal specific factors of depression, anxiety, and stress. This model was a significantly better fit than a competing model that tested the possibility that the Stress scale simply measures NA.

Conclusions. The DASS-21 subscales can validly be used to measure the dimensions of depression, anxiety, and stress. However, each of these subscales also taps a more general dimension of psychological distress or NA. The utility of the measure is enhanced by the provision of normative data based on a large sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2005



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