This is a 10-item questionnaire intended to yield a global measure of distress based on questions about anxiety and depressive symptoms that a person has experienced in the most recent 30 day period.

These questions concern how you have been feeling over the past 30 days. Tick a box below each question that best represents how you have been.


1. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel tired out for no good reason?

2. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel nervous?

3. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel so nervous that nothing could calm you down?

4. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel hopeless?

5. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel restless or fidgety?

6. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel so restless you could not sit still?

7. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel depressed?

8. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel that everything was an effort?

9. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel so sad that nothing could cheer you up?

10. During the last 30 days, about how often did you feel worthless?


Information about the K10

The K10 is a measure of psychological distress. The numbers attached to the patients 10 responses are added up and the total score is the score on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Scores will range from 8 to 50 (q3 & q6 only apply if q2 and q5 respectively are more than 1). People seen in primary care who score:

  • under 20 are likely to be well
  • 20-24 are likely to have a mild mental disorder
  • 25-29 are likely to have moderate mental disorder
  • 30 and over are likely to have a severe mental disorder

 

Note that 13% of the adult population will score 20 and over and about 1 in 4 patients seen in primary care will score 20 and over. This is a screening instrument and practitioners should make a clinical judgement as to whether a person needs treatment. Scores usually decline with effective treatment. Patients whose scores remain above 24 after treatment should be reviewed and specialist referral considered.

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.

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