What is the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale?


The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) is a rating scale which a clinician or researcher may use to measure psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety, hallucinations and unusual behaviour.

The scale is one of the oldest, most widely used scales to measure psychotic symptoms and was first published in 1962.

Brief History

The BPRS was initially developed by John E. Overall and Donald R. Gorham. It was created for the purpose of being able to quickly assess the patient’s psychiatric symptoms prior, during, or following a treatment. The items of the test were generated from conducting factor analysis on the Multidimensional Scale for Rating Psychiatric Patients and the Inpatient Multidimensional Psychiatric Scale. Sixteen factors were found from the analysis, which served as the building blocks for the BPRS. Later research in 1968 added two more factors to the BPRS, which were excitement and disorientation.

Test Format

The BPRS consists of 18 items measuring the following factors:

  1. Anxiety.
  2. Emotional withdrawal.
  3. Conceptual disorganisation.
  4. Guilt feelings.
  5. Tension.
  6. Mannerisms and posturing.
  7. Grandiosity.
  8. Depressive moods.
  9. Hostility.
  10. Suspiciousness.
  11. Hallucinatory behaviour.
  12. Motor hyperactivity.
  13. Uncooperativeness.
  14. Unusual thought content.
  15. Blunted affect.
  16. Somatic concern.
  17. Excitement.
  18. Disorientation.

It uses a seven-item Likert scale with the following values:

  • 1 = “not present”.
  • 2 = “very mild”.
  • 3 = “mild”.
  • 4 = “moderate”.
  • 5 = “moderately severe”.
  • 6 = “severe”.
  • 7 = “extremely severe”.

The test is administered in tandem with a series of interviews conducted by at least two clinicians to ensure interrater reliability of the assessment.


The BPRS is intended for use on adult psychiatric patients and has been validated for use in elderly populations. A version designed for children called the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale Children was also developed by Overall and Betty Pfeifferbaum, with different scale structures and factors.

Further Development

An expanded version of the test was created in 1993 by D. Lukoff, Keith H. Nuechterlein, and Joseph Ventura.

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What is the Body Attitudes Test?


The Body Attitudes Test (BAT) was developed by Probst et al. in 1995. It was designed for the assessment of multiple eating disorders in women.

The BAT measures an individual’s subjective body experience and attitudes towards one’s own body. It is a questionnaire composed of twenty items which yields four different factors that evaluate the internal view of the patient’s own body.

Refer to Body Attitudes Questionnaire.


The BAT is used to evaluate self-reported outlooks women with eating disorders have pre-, during, and post-treatment. It has been proven to highlight the psychological changes experienced throughout the rehabilitation process and is a useful way to gauge adherence and success of treatment.

This test also has the ability to differentiated between clinical and non-clinical subjects and between anorexics and bulimics. Studies have shown that patients suffering from restrictive anorexia have lower BAT scores, whereas patients with bulimia nervosa score higher.

Brief History

Michel Probst and colleagues began creating the BAT in 1984 and eventually published this questionnaire in 1995, with the goal of finding a new tool to evaluate how women suffering from eating disorders view their own body. The BAT was originally written in Dutch and then translated to many languages. This test was administered widely to both patients and control subjects, including women already diagnosed with eating disorders, women participating in Weight Watchers, and healthy women with no eating disorder diagnosis. To ensure the validity of this test, Probst and colleagues compared the results of the BAT to other tools already in use to evaluate women with eating disorders. These other evaluations include the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ), the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT).


The BAT is a self-reported questionnaire consisting of 20 questions. Patients are asked to score each statement 0-5, 0 meaning they do not relate to the statement at all, and 5 meaning the statement frequently describes their sentiment. The following are examples of questions asked in the assessment:

  • I feel displeased when comparing my body to others.
  • I do not recognise my body as my own.
  • My body is too wide.
  • I am pleased with my body shape.
  • I feel the need to lose weight.
  • I see my breasts as too big.
  • I feel the need to conceal my body in looser clothing.
  • I avoid my reflection because it upsets me.
  • I do not struggle with relaxing.
  • I feel like every aspect of my body is broad.
  • My body negatively weighs on me.
  • There is a dissonance between my body and I.
  • At times, I feel like my body is swollen.
  • I feel threatened by my physical appearance.
  • I take great pride in my body size.
  • I feel like I look pregnant.
  • I always feel very tense.
  • I tend to be jealous of other people’s looks.
  • Aspects of my physical appearance scare me.
  • I often scrutinise my own reflection.

The answers to these questions are then analysed and provide information regarding four factors that evaluate the patient’s subjective view on their body:

  • Negative appreciation of body size.
  • Lack of familiarity with one’s own body.
  • General body dissatisfaction.
  • Rest factor.

What is the Body Attitudes Questionnaire?


The Ben-Tovim Walker Body Attitudes Questionnaire (BAQ) is a 44 item self-report questionnaire divided into six subscales that measures a woman’s attitude towards their own body.

The BAQ is used in the assessment of eating disorders. It was devised by D.I. Ben-Tovim and M.K. Walker in 1991.

Refer to Body Attitudes Test.


The six subscales measured by the BAQ are:

  1. Overall fatness.
  2. Self disparagement.
  3. Strength.
  4. Salience of weight.
  5. Feelings of attractiveness.
  6. Consciousness of lower body fat.

Foreign-Language Versions

Portuguese Version

The BAQ was the first body attitudes scale to be translated into Portuguese. The validity of the Portuguese language version was proven in a test conducted on a cohort of Brazilian women who speak Portuguese as their native language. The test-retest reliability was 0.57 and 0.85 after a one-month interval. The test was conducted by Scagliusi et al.

Japanese Version

The BAQ was translated into Japanese and tested on 68 males and 139 females in Japan and 68 Japanese males living in Australia (Kagawa et al.) The scores were assessed against 72 Australian men using the English-language version as well as scores from previous female Australian participants. There was a significant difference between the Japanese and Australian groups (p,0.05). The BAQ was deemed adequate for use in both Japanese males and females.

What is the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms?


Within psychological testing, the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS) is a rating scale to measure positive symptoms in schizophrenia.

The scale was developed by Nancy Andreasen and was first published in 1984. SAPS is split into 4 domains, and within each domain separate symptoms are rated from 0 (absent) to 5 (severe). The scale is closely linked to the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) which was published a few years earlier.


  • Hallucinations:
    • Auditory Hallucinations.
    • Voices Commenting.
    • Voices Conversing.
    • Somatic or Tactile Hallucinations.
    • Olfactory Hallucinations.
    • Visual Hallucinations.
    • Global Rating of Severity of Hallucinations.
  • Delusions:
    • Persecutory Delusions.
    • Delusions of Jealousy.
    • Delusions of Sin or Guilt.
    • Grandiose Delusions.
    • Religious Delusions.
    • Somatic Delusions.
    • Ideas and Delusions of Reference.
    • Delusions of Being Controlled.
    • Delusions of Mind Reading.
    • Thought Broadcasting.
    • Thought Insertion.
    • Thought Withdrawal.
    • Global Rating of Severity of Delusions.
  • Bizarre Behaviour:
    • Clothing and Appearance.
    • Social and Sexual Behaviour.
    • Aggressive and Agitated Behaviour.
    • Repetitive or Stereotyped Behaviour.
    • Global Rating of Severity of Bizarre Behaviour.
  • Positive Formal Thought Disorder:
    • Derailment (loose associations).
    • Tangentiality.
    • Incoherence (Word salad, Schizophasia).
    • Illogicality.
    • Circumstantiality.
    • Pressure of speech.
    • Distractible speech.
    • Clanging.
    • Global Rating of Positive Formal Thought Disorder.

What is the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms?


The Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) is a rating scale that mental health professionals use to measure negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

Negative symptoms are those conspicuous by their absence – lack of concern for one’s appearance, and lack of language and communication skills, for example. Nancy Andreasen developed the scale and first published it in 1984. SANS splits assessment into five domains. Within each domain it rates separate symptoms from 0 (absent) to 5 (severe). The scale is closely linked to the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS), which was published a few years later. These tools are available for clinicians and for research.


Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness characterised by a range of behaviours, including hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations refer to disorders involving the sensory systems, and are most often manifested as seeing or hearing things (e.g. voices) that do not exist. Delusions include odd or unusual beliefs such as grandiosity or paranoia. Both hallucinations and delusions are inconsistent with reality. Other symptoms of schizophrenia include bizarre behaviour, odd posture or movements, facial grimacing, loss of, or indifference to self-help skills (grooming, washing, toileting, feeding, etc.). Schizophrenia may also be marked by a host of social and communication deficits, such as social withdrawal, odd use of language, including excessive use of made up words (neologisms), incomprehensible combinations of words (word salad) or overall poverty of speech. The symptoms are often classified into two broad categories: positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms refer to those behaviours or condition that are present in schizophrenia but that are not present under typical conditions (hallucinations, delusions). Negative symptoms refer to those behaviours that are conspicuous because of their absence (grooming, language, communication). Several measures or rating scales have been developed to assess the positive and negative aspects of schizophrenia.


  • Affective Flattening or Blunting:
    • Unchanging Facial Expression.
    • Decreased Spontaneous Movements.
    • Paucity of Expressive Gestures.
    • Poor Eye Contact.
    • Affective Non-responsivity.
    • Lack of Vocal Inflections.
    • Global Rating of Affective Flattening.
    • Inappropriate Affect.
  • Alogia:
    • Poverty of Speech.
    • Poverty of Content of Speech.
    • Blocking.
    • Increased Latency of Response.
    • Global Rating of Alogia.
  • Avolition – Apathy:
    • Grooming and Hygiene.
    • Impersistence at Work or School.
    • Physical Anergia.
    • Global Rating of Avolition – Apathy.
  • Anhedonia – Asociality:
    • Recreational Interests and Activities.
    • Sexual Interest and Activity.
    • Ability to Feel Intimacy and Closeness.
    • Relationships with Friends and Peers.
    • Global Rating of Anhedonia-Asociality.
  • Attention:
    • Social Inattentiveness.
    • Inattentiveness During Mental Status Testing.
    • Global Rating of Attention.
    • Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS).

What is the General Behaviour Inventory?


The General Behavior Inventory (GBI) is a 73-question psychological self-report assessment tool designed by Richard Depue and colleagues to identify the presence and severity of manic and depressive moods in adults, as well as to assess for cyclothymia.

It is one of the most widely used psychometric tests for measuring the severity of bipolar disorder and the fluctuation of symptoms over time. The GBI is intended to be administered for adult populations; however, it has been adapted into versions that allow for juvenile populations (for parents to rate their offspring), as well as a short version that allows for it to be used as a screening test.

Refer to Hypomania Checklist.


General Behaviour Inventory (GBI)

The GBI was originally made as a self-report instrument for college students and adults to use to describe their own history of mood symptoms. The original item set included clinical characteristics and associated features in addition to the diagnostic symptoms of manic and depressive states in the current versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association. The first set of 69 items was increased to 73, with the final version having 73 mood items and 6 additional questions to check the validity of responses (but which did not figure in the scale scores). The self report version of the GBI has been used in an extensive programme of research, accruing evidence of many facets of validity. Because of its length and high reading level, there also have been many efforts to develop short forms of the GBI.

7 Up 7 Down Inventory (7U7D)

The 7 Up-7 Down (7U7D) is a 14-item measure of manic and depressive tendencies that was carved from the full length GBI. This version is designed to be applicable for both youths and adults, and to improve separation between both mania and depressive conditions. It was developed via factor analysis from nine separate samples pooled into two age groups, ensuring applicability for use in youth and adults.

A sleep scale also has been carved from the GBI, using the seven items that ask about anything directly related to sleep.

Parent Report on the GBI (P-GBI)

The P-GBI is an adaptation of the GBI, consisting of 73 Likert scale items rated on a scale from 0 (“Never or Hardly Ever”) to 3 (“Very often or Almost Constantly”). It consists of two scales: a depressive symptoms (46 items) and a hypomanic/biphasic (mixed) symptoms (28 items).

Parent Short Forms

Again, due to the length of the full version, several short forms have been built and tested in multiple samples that may be more convenient to use in clinical work. These include 10 item mania, two alternate 10 item depression forms, and the seven item Sleep scale. All have performed as well or better than the self-report version when completed by an adult familiar with the youth’s behaviour (typically a parent).

The PGBI-10M is a brief (10-item) version of the PGBI that was validated for clinical use for patients presenting with a variety of different diagnoses, including frequent comorbid conditions. It is administered to parents for them to rate their children between ages 5-17. The 10 items include symptoms such as elated mood, high energy, irritability and rapid changes in mood and energy as indicators of potential juvenile bipolar disorder. The PhenX Toolkit uses this instrument as its child protocol for Hypomania/Mania Symptoms.

Teacher Report on the GBI

One study had a large sample of teachers complete the GBI to describe the mood and behaviour of youths age 5 to 18 years old. The results indicated that there were many items that teachers did not have an opportunity to observe the behaviour (such as the items asking about sleep), and others that teachers often chose to skip. Even after shortening the item list to those that teachers could report about, the validity results were modest even though the internal consistency reliability was high. The results suggested that it was challenging for teachers to tell the difference between hypomanic symptoms and symptoms attributable to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which is much more common in the classroom. The results aligned with findings from a large meta-analysis that teacher report had the lowest average validity across all mania scales compared to adolescent or parent report on the same scales. Based on these results, current recommendations are to concentrate on parent and youth report, and not use teacher report as a way of measuring hypomanic symptoms in youths.

Psychometric Properties

The GBI has been used extensively in research, including clinical samples, college students, longitudinal, treatment, and other studies. However, no normative data exist to calibrate scores in the general population.


The GBI has exceptionally high internal consistency because it has long scales with a large number of items. The GBI shows high reliability whether completed as a self report or as a caregiver report about youth behaviour.

Retest reliability also is good over a week or two week period, although the GBI’s length makes it tedious to complete frequently.


GBI Scoring

The current GBI questionnaire includes 73 Likert-type items which reflect symptoms of different moods. The original version of the GBI used case scoring where items were given values ranging from 1-4. Symptoms that were rated as 1 or 2 were considered to be absent and symptoms rated as 3 or 4 were considered to be present. However, if each item were to receive one of four scores, the authors of the GBI decided Likert scaling would be a better scoring option. The items on the GBI are now scaled from 0-3 rated as 0 (never or hardly ever present), 1 (sometimes present), 2 (often present), and 3 (very often or almost constantly present).


For the PGBI-10M, the scores from each question are added together to form a total score, with higher scores indicating a greater severity of symptoms. Scores range from 0 to 30. Low scores of 5 and below indicate a very low risk of a bipolar diagnosis. High scores of 18 and over indicate a high risk of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, increasing the likelihood by a factor of seven or greater. Several peer-reviewed research studies support the P-GBI as a reliable and valid measure of bipolar in children and adolescents. It is recommended to be used as part of an assessment battery in the diagnosis of juvenile bipolar disorder.


The GBI is free for use clinically and in research. The reading level and length make it challenging for some people to complete. Being a self-report questionnaire, the GBI is not known to have any adverse effects on patients beyond the potential of causing minor distress.


Shorter versions of the GBI have been validated for research and clinical use. For instance, the PGBI-10M is currently being tested as part of a large longitudinal study investigating the course of early symptoms of mania in children[citation needed], with preliminary studies indicating its clinical efficacy in differentiating juvenile bipolar disorder from youth with other diagnoses.

What is the Hypomania Checklist?


The Hypomania Checklist (HCL-32) is a questionnaire developed by Dr. Jules Angst to identify hypomanic features in patients with major depressive disorder in order to help recognise bipolar II disorder and other bipolar spectrum disorders when people seek help in primary care and other general medical settings.

It asks about 32 behaviours and mental states that are either aspects of hypomania or features associated with mood disorders. It uses short phrases and simple language, making it easy to read. The University of Zurich holds the copyright, and the HCL-32 is available for use at no charge. More recent work has focused on validating translations and testing whether shorter versions still perform well enough to be helpful clinically. Recent meta-analyses find that it is one of the most accurate assessments available for detecting hypomania, doing better than other options at recognising bipolar II disorder.

Development and Brief History

The Hypomania Checklist was built as a more efficient screening measure for hypomania, to be used both in epidemiological research and in clinical use. Existing measures for bipolar disorder focused on identifying personality factors and symptom severity instead of the episodic nature of hypomania or the possible negative consequences in behavioural, affective, or cognitive changes associated. These measures were mostly used in non-clinical populations to identify individuals at risk and were not used as screening instruments. The HCL-32 is a measure intended to have high sensitivity to direct clinicians from many countries to diagnosing individuals in a clinical population with bipolar disorder, specifically bipolar II disorder.

Initially developed by Jules Angst and Thomas Meyer in German, the questionnaire was translated into English and translated back to German to ensure accuracy. The English version of the HCL has been used as the basis for translation in other languages through the same process. The original study that used the HCL in an Italian and a Swiss sample noted the measure’s high sensitivity and a lower sensitivity than other used measures.

The scale includes a checklist of 32 possible symptoms of hypomania, each rated yes or no. The rating “yes” would mean the symptom is present or this trait is “typical of me,” and “no” would mean that the symptom is not present or “not typical” for the person.


The HCL suffers from the same problems as other self-report inventories, in that scores can be easily exaggerated or minimised by the person completing them. Like all questionnaires, the way the instrument is administered can influence the final score. If a patient is asked to fill out the form in front of other people in a clinical environment, for instance, social expectations may elicit a different response compared to administration via a postal survey.

Similar reliability scores were found when only using 16 item assessments versus the traditional 32-item format of the HCL-32. A score of at least 8 items was found valid and reliable for distinguishing Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. In a study, 73% of patients who completed the HCL-32 R1 were true bipolar cases identified as potential bipolar cases. However, the HCL-32 R1 does not accurately differentiate between Bipolar I and Bipolar II. However, the 16-item HCL has not been tested as a standalone section in a hospital setting. In addition, while the HCL-32 is a sensitive instrument for hypomanic symptoms, it does not distinguish between bipolar I and bipolar-II disorders. The HCL-32 has not been compared with other commonly used screening tools for bipolar disorder, such as the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS)and the General Behaviour Inventory (GBI). The online version of the HCL has been shown to be as reliable as the paper version.

What is the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia?


The Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (SADS) is a collection of psychiatric diagnostic criteria and symptom rating scales originally published in 1978.

It is organised as a semi-structured diagnostic interview. The structured aspect is that every interview asks screening questions about the same set of disorders regardless of the presenting problem; and positive screens get explored with a consistent set of symptoms. These features increase the sensitivity of the interview and the inter-rater reliability (or reproducibility) of the resulting diagnoses. The SADS also allows more flexibility than fully structured interviews: Interviewers can use their own words and rephrase questions, and some clinical judgment is used to score responses.

There are three versions of the schedule:

  • The regular SADS;
  • The lifetime version (SADS-L); and
  • A version for measuring the change in symptomology (SADS-C).

Although largely replaced by more structured interviews that follow diagnostic criteria such as DSM-IV and DSM-5, and specific mood rating scales, versions of the SADS are still used in some research papers today.

Diagnoses Covered

The diagnoses covered by the interview include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and a limited number of other fairly common diagnoses.

Relationship with the Research Diagnostic Criteria

The SADS was developed by the same group of researchers as the Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC). While the RDC is a list of diagnostic criteria for psychiatric disorders, the SADS interview allows diagnoses based on RDC criteria to be made, and also rates subject’s symptoms and level of functioning.


The K-SADS (or Kiddie-SADS) is a version of the SADS adapted for school-aged children of 6–18 years. There are various different versions of the K-SADS, each varying slightly in terms of disorders and specific symptoms covered, as well as the scale range used. All of the variations are still semi-structured interviews, giving the interviewer more flexibility about how to phrase and probe items, while still covering a consistent set of disorders.

The K-SADS-E (Epidemiological version) was developed for epidemiological research. It focused on current issues and episodes only. Most of the items used a four point rating scale.

The K-SADS-PL (Present and Lifetime version) is administered by interviewing the parent(s), the child, and integrating them into a summary rating that includes parent report, child report, and clinical observations during the interview. The interview covers both present issues (i.e., the reason the family is seeking an evaluation) as well as past episodes of the disorders. Most items use a three point rating scale for severity (not present, subthreshold, and threshold – which combines both moderate and severe presentations). It has been used with preschool as well as school-aged children. A 2009 working draft removed all reference to the DSM-III-R criteria (which were replaced with the publication of the DSM-IV in 1994) and made some other modifications. A DSM-5 version is being prepared and validated.

The WASH-U K-SADS (Washington University version) added items to the depression and mania modules and used a six point severity rating for severity.

What are the Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC)?


The Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) are a collection of influential psychiatric diagnostic criteria published in late 1970s under auspices of Statistics Section NY Psychiatric Institute, authors were Spitzer, R L; Endicott J; Robins E. PMID 1153649; As psychiatric diagnoses widely varied especially between the USA and Europe, the purpose of the criteria was to allow diagnoses to be consistent in psychiatric research.

Some of the criteria were based on the earlier Feighner Criteria, although many new disorders were included; “The historical record shows that the small group of individuals who created the Feighner criteria instigated a paradigm shift that has had profound effects on the course of American and, ultimately, world psychiatry.”

The RDC is important in the history of psychiatric diagnostic criteria as the DSM-III was based on many of the RDC descriptions, head of DSM III Edition was R L Spitzer.

What is the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia?


The Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS) is a semi-structured interview aimed at early diagnosis of affective disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder. There are currently four different versions of the test that are structured to include interviews with both the child and the parents or guardians.

The K-SADS serves to diagnose childhood mental disorders in school-aged children 6-18. The different adaptations of the K-SADS were written by different researchers and are used to screen for many affective and psychotic disorders. Versions of the K-SADS are semi-structured interviews administered by health care providers or highly trained clinical researchers, which gives more flexibility to the interviewer about how to phrase and probe items, while still covering a consistent set of disorders. Due to its semi-structured interview format, time to complete the administration varies based on the youth/adult being interviewed. Most versions of the K-SADS also include “probes”, if these are endorsed, another diagnostic category will be reviewed. If the probe is not endorsed, additional symptoms for that particular disorder will not be queried.

The K-SADS has been found to be reliable and valid in multiple research and treatment settings.

Refer to the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (SADS).

Development and Brief History

The Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School Aged Children, or K-SADS, was originally created as an adapted version of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia, a measure for adults. The K-SADS was written by Chambers, Puig-Antich, et al. in the late 1970s. The K-SADS was developed to promote earlier diagnosis of affective disorders and schizophrenia in children in a way that incorporates reports by both the child and parent and a “summary score” by the interviewer based on observations and teacher ratings.

The first version of the K-SADS differed from other tests on children because it relied on answers to interview questions rather than observances during games and interactions. The 1990s led to the creation of different versions of the K-SADS for different purposes, such as ascertaining lifetime diagnoses (K-SADS-E) or focusing on current episodes (K-SADS-P).


KSADS-Present Version (KSADS-P)

The KSADS-P was the first version of the K-SADS, developed by Chambers and Puig-Antich in 1978 as a version of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia adapted for use with children and adolescents 6-19 years old. This version rephrased the SADS to make the wording of the questionnaire pertain to a younger age group. For example, mania symptoms in children might be manifest differently than in adulthood (e.g. children might have not have the same opportunity to spend money impulsively, nor would they likely have access to credit cards or checking accounts; instead, they might give away all their favourite toys or empty their parent’s wallet to gain spending money). The KSADS-P is a structured interview given by trained clinicians or clinical researchers who interview both the child and the parent. This original version assesses symptoms that have occurred in the most current episode (within the week preceding the interview), as well as symptoms that have occurred within the last 12 months. The KSADS-P has many limitations: it does not assess lifetime symptoms and history, does not include many psychiatric diagnoses of interest in childhood (such as autistic spectrum disorders), and does not include diagnosis specific impairment ratings.

KSADS-Present and Lifetime Version (KSADS-PL)

The K-SADS-PL is used to screen for affective and psychotic disorders as well as other disorders, including, but not limited to Major Depressive Disorder, Mania, Bipolar Disorders, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Generalized Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This semi-structured interview takes 45-75 minutes to administer. It was written by Joan Kaufman, Boris Birmaher, David Brent, Uma Rao, and Neal Ryan. The majority of items in the K-SADS-PL are scored using a 0-3 point rating scale. Scores of 0 indicate no information is available; scores of 1 suggest the symptom is not present; scores of 2 indicate sub-threshold presentation and scores of 3 indicate threshold presentation of symptoms. The KSADS-PL has six components:

Unstructured Introductory Interview – Developmental HistoryThe first part of the interview asks about developmental history and the history of the presenting problem. The interviewer takes detailed notes on the record sheet. Prompts cover basic demographic information, physical and mental health history and prior treatments, current complaints, and the youth’s relations with friends, family, school, and hobbies. This section allows flexibility for the interviewer to collect more information on questions that need elaboration.
Diagnostic Screening InterviewThe diagnostic screening interview reviews the most severe current and past symptoms. There are probes and scoring criteria for each symptom presented. Symptoms of disorders are grouped into modules. If the patient does not display any current or past symptoms for the screening questions, then the rest of the module’s questions do not need to be asked.
Completion Checklist SupplementA supplemental checklist is used to screen for additional disorders.
Appropriate Diagnostic SupplementsThese supplements review presence/absence of symptoms for other disorders, including anxiety disorders, behavioural disorders, and substance abuse.
Summary Lifetime Diagnosis ChecklistBased on the previous sections, this section summarises which disorders have been present from first episode to now.
Children’s Global Assessment Scale (C-GAS)Scores the child’s level of functioning.

KSADS-Epidemiological (KSADS-E)

The KSADS-E, which is the epidemiological version of the KSADS, is a tool to interview parents about possible psychopathology in children from preschool onward. It was developed by Puig-Antich, Orvaschel, Tabrizi, and Chambers in 1980 as a structured interview. The tool examines both past and current episodes, focusing on the most severe past episode and the most current episode. However, this tool does not rate symptom severity; it should only be used to assess presence or absence of symptomatology. This version of the K-SADS introduced screening questions, which, if negative, allowed skipping the remaining diagnostic probes. Furthermore, the K-SADS-E also includes “skip out” criteria when assessing other diagnostic disorders (ADHD, PTSD, etc.), allowing those that screen positive to immediately be interviewed for all of the symptoms regarding that diagnosis, and those that screened negative could “skip out” of being interviewed on the remaining symptoms.


The WASH-U version of the K-SADS was written by Barbara Geller and colleagues in 1996. It is a modified version of the 1986 K-SADS. This version is like many other versions of the K-SADS in that it is semi-structured, administered by clinicians to both parent and child separately, and assesses present episodes. However, this version specifically expands the mania section in order to be more applicable to pre-pubertal mania. In particular, it queries presence/absence of rapid cycling. It also includes a section on multiple other DSM-IV diagnoses, and examines both present and lifetime symptoms as well as symptom onset and offset items. These modifications made this specific version particularly useful for phenomenology studies.

KSADS Mania Rating Scale (KMRS) and Depression Rating Scale (KDRS)
It also is possible to use the items in the mania and depression modules of some versions of the KSADS to get an interview-based rating of the severity of mood problems. The KMRS and KDRS use a 1 to 6 rating format (the same as in the WASH-U, -P, and PL-Plus versions). Adding up the items provides a measure of the total symptom burden. The KMRS assess 21 symptoms related to mania, hypomania, and rapid cycling. Each item is rated on a 0-6 rating scale. Scores of 0 suggest no information is available (missing data); scores of 1 suggest the symptom is not present at all; scores of 2 suggest the symptom is slightly present; scores of 3 suggest the symptom is mildly severe; scores of 4 suggest the symptom is moderately severe; scores of 5 suggest the symptom is severe; and scores of 6 suggest the symptom is extremely severe. Items with scores of 4 or higher are clinically significant/problematic. Trained clinicians or clinical researchers administer the assessment to both the child and the parent, which each provide their own separate score for each item (P and C), and the total score encompasses the sum of all of the items (S).

The KMRS is an alternative to the Young Mania Rating Scale designed by Young et al. (frequently referred to as the YMRS). The YMRS is more well-known and widely used, but because it was written in 1978, it does not include all of the symptoms of mania from ICD-9 or ICD-10 (nor DSM-IV or DSM-5), as it predated them all. The YMRS was also designed for completion by nurses at the end of their eight-hour shift on an inpatient unit, observing adult patients. The KMRS has several advantages in comparison: It covers all the symptoms used in current versions of ICD and DSM, it was designed for use with children and teenagers, and it was written and validated as an interview. Studies have found excellent internal consistency and inter-rater reliability, as well as exceptionally high correlation with the YMRS. Similarly, the KDRS would be analogous to the Child Depression Rating Scale-Revised. The CDRS-R was also designed to be done as an interview, but the item content predates the current ICD and DSM and omits some important symptoms. The KDRS also shows strong reliability (internal consistency and inter-rater) and exceptionally high correlations with the KDRS.


The K-SADS is used to measure previous and current symptoms of affective, anxiety, psychotic, and disruptive behaviour disorders. The K-SADS has become one of the most widely used diagnostic interviews in research, particular for projects focused on mood disorders.

The K-SADS-PL has been written and translated into 16 different languages, including Korean, Hebrew, Turkish, Icelandic, and Persian. The K-SADS-PL is also available in several Indian dialects including Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.


One limitation of the K-SADS is that it requires extensive training to give properly, including observation techniques, score calibration, and re-checks to test inter-rater reliability.