Assessing emotional status following acquired brain injury: The clinical potential of the depression, anxiety and stress scales

T. Ownsworth, T. Little, B. Turner, A. Hawkes, Ho Keung David Shum

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Primary objective: To investigate the clinical potential of the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS 42) and its shorter version (DASS 21) for assessing emotional status following acquired brain injury. Methods and procedures: Participants included 23 individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), 25 individuals with brain tumour and 29 non-clinical controls. Investigations of internal consistency, test-re-test reliability, theory-consistent differences, sensitivity to change and concurrent validity were conducted. Main outcomes and results: Internal consistency of the DASS was generally acceptable (r<0.70), with the exception of the anxiety scale for the TBI sample. Test-re-test reliability (1-3 weeks) was sound for the depression scale (r< 0.75) and significant but comparatively lower for other scales (r=0.60-0.73, p>0.01). Theory-consistent differences were only evident between the brain tumour sample and non-clinical control sample on the anxiety scale (p>0;0.01). Sensitivity to change of the DASS in the context of hospital discharge was demonstrated for depression and stress (p<0.01), but not for anxiety (p>0.05). Concurrent validity with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was significant for all scales of the DASS (p<0.05). Conclusions: While the results generally support the clinical application of the DASS following ABI, further research examining the factor structure of existing and modified versions of the DASS is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858-869
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired brain injury
  • Assessment
  • Emotional status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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