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Children’s Depression Inventory 2

Maria Kovacs, Ph.D.
“There is much to like about this test. It is based upon a seminal volume and assessment instrument on depression, built from a youth-age adaptation that demonstrated very good predictive validity and has many practical and psychometric features that testing professionals have come to expect from current well-researched measurements .”
- Atlas, J. (in press). Test review of the Children’s Depression Inventory 2nd Edition. In J. F. Carlson, K. F. Geisinger, & R. A. Spies (Eds.), The nineteenth mental measurements yearbook. Retrieved from the Buros Institute's Test Reviews Online website:


The CDI 2 is a revision of the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI™). The CDI 2 can be used in both educational and clinical settings to evaluate depressive symptoms in children and adolescents. Authored by Dr. Maria Kovacs, an internationally recognized researcher of childhood and adolescent depressive disorders, the CDI 2 retains many of the essential features of its predecessor, while introducing a number of important refinements. Such refinements include: new items that focus on the core aspects of childhood depression, revised scales, and new norms that are representative of the U.S. population.

  The CDI 2 is a comprehensive multi-rater assessment of depressive symptoms in youth aged 7 to 17 years. When results from the CDI 2 are combined with other sources of verified information, the CDI 2 can aid in the early identification of depressive symptoms, the diagnosis of depression and related disorders, as well as, the monitoring of treatment effectiveness. 

The CDI 2 quantifies depressive symptomatology using reports from children/adolescents (full-length and short); teachers, and parents (or alternative caregivers). It can be administered and scored using paper-and-pencil format with MHS Quikscore™ forms, or online through the MHS Online Assessment Center. The CDI 2 can also be scored using scoring software.

How to Use the Assessment
The CDI 2 is available in paper-and-pencil, online, and software formats.

Paper-and-Pencil Administration and Scoring
All CDI 2 forms can be administered and scored using the MHS QuikScore™ format. The rater writes on the external layers of the form, and the results transfer through to a hidden scoring grid within the internal layers. The assessor then uses the internal layers for tabulating results. Each QuikScore form includes conversion tables, which are used to convert raw scores to T-scores. For individuals who wish to use software or online scoring, CDI 2 items are also available as Response/E-Paper forms that do not include the scoring pages.

Online Administration and Scoring
The CDI 2 can be completed and automatically scored online wherever an internet connection is available. Online administration allows the assessor the flexibility to send a link to each respondent to complete the assessment at a location convenient to the respondent (e.g., child care center, school). It also significantly reduces administration and data entry time. Assessors using online scoring have the option of printing E-Paper forms that can be scored online by entering responses from the paper-and-pencil administration into the online program.

Software Scoring
The CDI 2 can be scored using the scoring software by entering responses from a completed paper-and-pencil administration into the software program. Back to the top

Scales & Forms

  • Emotional Problems
  • Functional Problems
  • Negative Mood
  • Negative Self-Esteem
  • Ineffectiveness
  • Interpersonal Problems

CDI 2: Self-Report (CDI 2:SR)
The full-length CDI 2 Self-Report Form is ideal when assessors require a more robust description of the child's depressive symptoms. The CDI 2:SR is 28-item assessment that yeilds a Total Score, two scale scores (Emotional Problems and Functional Problems), and four subscale scores.

CDI 2: Self-Report (Short) version (CDI 2:SR[S])
The CDI 2:SR(S) Form is an efficient screening measure that contains 12 items and takes about half the time of the full-length version to administer (5–10 minutes).The CDI 2:SR(S) has excellent psychometric properties and yields a Total Score that is generally very comparable to the one produced by the full-length version.

CDI: Teacher (CDI:T) and CDI: Parent (CDI:P)
The CDI:T and CDI:P Forms consist of items that correspond to the self-report version and are suitably rephrased. Item selection for the parent and teacher forms was guided to maximize validity, and thus focused on observable manifestations of depression.

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Author Maria Kovacs, Ph.D.

Age Range 7 to17 years

Administration Time 5–15 minutes

Administration Type
  • Parent-completed
  • Teacher-completed
  • Youth-completed
Qualification Level B