K-6 Distress Scale - Self Administered

Author of Tool: 

Kessler, R. C., Barker, P. R, Colpe, L. J., Epstein, J. F., Gfroerer, J. C., Hiripi, E., Howes, M.J., Normand, S.L., Manderscheid, R. W., Walters, E. E., Zaslavsky, A. M. (2003).

Key references: 

Kessler, R. C., Barker, P. R, Colpe, L. J., Epstein, J. F., Gfroerer, J. C., Hiripi, E., Howes, M.J., Normand, S.L., Manderscheid, R. W., Walters, E. E., Zaslavsky, A. M. (2003). Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 60(2), 184-9.

Mitchell, C. M., & Beals, J. (2011). The Utility of the Kessler Screening Scale for Psychological Distress
(K6) in Two American Indian Communities. Psychological Assessment, 23(3), 752‐761.

Cappadocia, M. C., Weiss, J. A., & Pepler, D. (2012). Bullying Experiences Among Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(2), 266‐277.

Primary use / Purpose: 

The K-6 is a 6-item inventory rated on a 5 point Likert-type scale. Its a truncated version of the K-10 and its purpose is also to function as a global measure of distress drawing from depressive and anxiety related symptomology. It measures distress over a period of four weeks prior to administration of the test. The K-6 contains several additional questions; however, these are supplementary and are not required for scoring the K-6.

Background: 

The K-10 was originally developed in the United States for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) who wished to obtain an accurate estimation of the prevalence of serious mental illness (SIM).

Psychometrics: 

The psychometric properties of the K-10 are discussed in Kessler, Barker, Colpe, et al., (2003) as well as in several newer studies which can be found in the weblink below.

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