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The Gerontologist 44:818-826 (2004)
© 2004 The Gerontological Society of America

Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Geriatric Depression Scale

Kathryn Betts Adams, MSW, PhD1,, Holly C. Matto, MSW, PhD2 and Sara Sanders, MSW, PhD3

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Kathryn Betts Adams, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106. E-mail: kathryn.adams{at}

Purpose: The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is widely used in clinical and research settings to screen older adults for depressive symptoms. Although several exploratory factor analytic structures have been proposed for the scale, no independent confirmation has been made available that would enable investigators to confidently identify scores for the subdimensions of depression represented in the scale. Design and Methods: This article describes a confirmatory factor analysis of the 30-item GDS, with the factor structure based on an exploratory principal components analysis that was published earlier. The original study sample consisted of 327 community-dwelling adults aged 65–94 years. The confirmatory factor analysis was performed on data from an independent sample of 294 adults aged 60–98 years who resided in retirement facilities. Results: The proposed final measurement model uses 26 of the items from the GDS in five factors and obtains a goodness-of-fit index of.90. The resulting distinct subdimensions are Dysphoric Mood, Withdrawal–Apathy–Vigor, Hopelessness, Cognitive, and Anxiety. Implications: Although results should be considered preliminary, the use of these five subdimensions as subscales for scoring purposes may improve the precision and utility of the GDS as an assessment tool for older adults in health, mental health, and research contexts.

Key Words: Assessment tools • Psychometrics • Mental health

All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2004 by The Gerontological Society of America.