Mental Health Assessment and Treatment Measures for psychologists

Progress achieved due to intervention is a critical factor the insurer considers when determining whether further treatment is reasonable to fund.  The use of reliable and validated clinical tools assists in objectively assessing whether a person is making measurable and durable progress.

The following are examples of questionnaires that you may consider using:

This questionnaire is self-administered and uses a scoring method to specifically measure depression related symptoms.

Scoring:  the total score of first 9 items ranges from 0-27.  Scores of 5, 10, 15 and 20 represent cut off points for mild, moderate, moderately severe and severe depression respectively.

Reference: Spitzer, RL., Kroenke, K., Williams, J.B. and Patient Health questionnaire Primary Care Study Group (1999).  Validation and utility of a self-report version of PRIME-MD: the PHQ primary care study. JAMA, 282, 1737-1744

To access the PHQ-9 please click here.

This 7 item questionnaire is a valid and efficient clinical screening and severity measure for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Scoring: GAD-7 ranges from 0-21.  Scores of 5, 10 and 15 represent cut off points for mild, moderate and severe anxiety respectively.  A recommended cut point for further evaluation is a score of 10 or greater.

Reference: Spitzer, ARL., Kroenke, K., Williams, J.B., and Lowe, B. (2006) A brief measure for assessment generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7.  Arch Intern Med, 166, 1092-1097.

To access the GAD-7 please click here.

The Impact of Event Scale – Revised is a valid self report measure designed to assess current subjective distress in response to a specific traumatic event.

Scoring:  The 22 item scale has 3 subscales for the major symptom clusters of post-traumatic stress – intrusion, avoidance and hyperarousal. The scores for each subscale range from 0 (“not at all”) to 4 (“extremely”) and the maximum overall score is 12.  There are no specific cut off scores, although higher scores are representative of greater distress.

Reference: The Impact of events scale – Revised Weiss, D.S. & Marmar, C.R. The impact of event scale-revised in Wilson, J.P. & Kean, T.M. (eds.) Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD: a practitioner’s handbook (chptr  15).  N.Y: Guildford, 1995.

Due to copyright restrictions, psychologists will need to obtain this measure by contacting Daniel Weiss, email

This is a 17 item self report checklist of PTSD symptoms based on the DSM-IV criteria.  There is a PCL available based on DSM V.  Psychometrics for this version are not yet published.

Scoring: each item is rated from 1 (“Not at all”) to 5 (“extremely”).  Scores can range from 17 to 85.  Evidence suggests a 5-10 point scale change is reliable and a 10-20 point change is clinically meaningful. 5 points can be used as a minimum threshold for determining whether an individual has responded to treatment and 10 points as a minimum threshold for determining whether improvement is clinically meaningful.

Reference: Weathers, F.W., Huska, J.A., Keane, T.M.  PLC-S for DSM-IV.  Boston: National Centre for PTSD- Behavioural Science Division, 1991.

To access PCL lease click here.

The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale is a validated 10 item self report questionnaire for a global measure of psychological distress based on questions about anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Scoring:  The numbers attached to the 10 responses are added.  Scores will range from 10 to 50.  Score range: 20-24 – mild; 25-29 – moderate; > 30 – severe

References: Kessler R.C., Andrews, G., Colpe et al (2002). Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress.  Psychological Medicine, 32, 959-956

Andrews, G.,Slade, T (2001). Interpreting scores on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10).  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 25, 494-497.

To access K10 please click here

This is a 21 item self report questionnaire designed to measure the severity of a range of symptoms common to both depression and anxiety.  This questionnaire is designed to measure severity of the symptoms as well as measuring treatment response.  It is best given on the first presentation and after a period of treatment.

Scoring:  Each item is scored from 0 (not relevant over the past week) to 3 (applied most of the time all over the past week).

To access DASS 21 please click here

Last modified 21 July 2016