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Development and psychometric properties of the Glasgow Depression Scale for people with a Learning Disability: Individual and carer supplement versions

  • Fiona M. Cuthill (a1), Colin A. Espie (a1) and Sally-Anne Cooper (a1)

There is no reliable and valid self-report measure of depressive symptoms for people with learning disabilities.


To develop a scale for individuals with learning disability, and a supplementary scale for carers.


Items were generated from a range of assessment scales and through focus groups. A draft scale was piloted and field tested using matched groups of people with or without depression, and their carers. The scale was also administered to a group without learning disabilities for criterion validation.


The Glasgow Depression Scale for people with a Learning Disability (GDS–LD) differentiated depression and non-depression groups, correlated with the Beck Depression Inventory – II (r=0.88), had good test – retest reliability (r=0.97) and internal consistency (Cronbach's α=0.90), and a cut-off score (13) yielded 96% sensitivity and 90% specificity. The Carer Supplement was also reliable (r=0.98; α=0.88), correlating with the GDS–LD (r=0.93).


Both scales appear useful for screening, monitoring progress and contributing to outcome appraisal.

Corresponding author
Professor Colin A. Espie, Department of Psychological Medicine, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, 1055 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0XH, UK. E-mail:
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Development and psychometric properties of the Glasgow Depression Scale for people with a Learning Disability: Individual and carer supplement versions

  • Fiona M. Cuthill (a1), Colin A. Espie (a1) and Sally-Anne Cooper (a1)
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