Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scales Reliable Measurement Tool for Adults

can't sleep, sitting on bed
can’t sleep, sitting on bed
RCADS is often used to measure anxiety and depression and researchers assessed its structural validity for adults, given the life span nature of anxiety.

The Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scales (RCADS) could be helpful for longitudinal and comparative research and assessments of clinical outcomes focusing on general anxiety and depression, according to research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. RCADS is often used to measure anxiety and depression, and researchers sought to assess its structural validity for adults because of the life span nature of anxiety.

Researchers measured the factorial validity of the original RCADS as well as 2 short-form versions adapted for adults in a sample of 371 adults age 18 to 67 years. They used a confirmatory factor analysis to evaluate the data. The study was limited, however, by not including data for children in the analyses and by small changes made in the wording of the 5 RCADS items to adapt them for adults.

All versions of RCADS provided reliable measures of general anxiety and depression among the adults in the sample. Most subdimensions of anxiety corresponding with the original versions of RCADS were also consistent, primarily because of a high comorbidity between anxiety subtypes. The reliability for specific anxiety factors was low.

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Researchers note that “the RCADS could be used to track the clinical progress of individuals from childhood to adulthood, for longitudinal research, and for comparative research across age cohorts in respect of general anxiety and depression.” The next step in assessing the potential use of RCADS across the life span will be to determine to what extent it can generate comparable scores in children, adolescents, and adults. The authors add that this future research is warranted.


McKenzie K, Murray A, Freeston M, Whelan K, Rodgers J. Validation of the Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scales (RCADS) and RCADS short forms adapted for adults. J Affect Disord. 2019;245:200-204.