Weinberg Screen Affective Scale

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Weinberg Screen Affective Scale (WSAS)
Purposescreens for depression in those 5-21 of age

The Weinberg Screen Affective Scale (WSAS) is a free scale designed to screen for symptoms of depression in children and young adults ages 5–21. It can be used as an initial treatment scale and can be used to follow up on treatment efficacy. There are 56 self-report questions that screen for symptoms in 10 major categories of depression: dysphoric mood, low self-esteem, agitation, sleep disturbance, change in school performance, diminished socialization, change in attitude towards school, somatic complaints, loss of usual energy, and unusual change in weight and/or appetite.[1] The scale is based on previously proposed criteria for depression in children.[2] A study looking at the agreement between scales for depression diagnosis found 79.4% agreement between the DSM-III and the WSAS in a sample of 107 children.[3]

The test is a 56-item self-report test to be completed by the child or young adult that takes an average of 3–5 minutes to complete. Each question describes a symptom and the respondent circles either "yes" or "no" if the symptom applies. The WSAS is written at a fourth-grade level in order to get better results. To go along with this, the definitions of behaviors were made very clear and to the point.[4] The purpose of the two forms (adult and child) is to help clinicians more readily recognize depression in children who have been failing in school, have done poorly in the home, and will allow other school personnel to be more cognizant of depression symptoms in students.[5] Based on research, the WSAS has been found both reliable and valid.[3][5]


Some questions have different validities depending on the patient's ethnic background.[4] As a result, one limitation of the scale is its validity across different cultures. Furthermore, this measure may not be valid in measuring suicidal tendencies in adolescents.[4]


  1. ^ Weinberg, Warren A.; Harper, Caryn R.; Emslie, Graham J.; Brumback, Roger A. (1995). "Depression and Other Affective Illnesses as a Cause of School Failure and Maladaptation in Learning Disabled Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults". Secondary Education and Beyond: providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities. Pittsburgh, PA: Learning Disabilities Association of America. OCLC 928143130. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  2. ^ Poznanski, E.; Mokros, H.B.; Grossman, J.; Freeman, L.N. (October 1985). "Diagnostic criteria in childhood depression". American Journal of Psychiatry. 142 (10): 1168–1173. doi:10.1176/ajp.142.10.1168. ISSN 0002-953X. PMID 4037128.
  3. ^ a b Carlson, Gabrielle A.; Cantwell, Dennis P. (May 1982). "Diagnosis of Childhood Depression: A Comparison of the Weinberg and DSM-III Criteria". Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry. 21 (3): 247–250. doi:10.1016/S0002-7138(09)60878-5. PMID 7096843.
  4. ^ a b c Emslie, Graham J.; Weinberg, Warren A.; Rush, A. John; Adams, Richard M.; Rintelmann, Jeanne W. (April 1990). "Depressive Symptoms by Self-Report in Adolescence: Phase I of the Development of a Questionnaire for Depression by Self-Report". Journal of Child Neurology. 5 (2): 114–121. doi:10.1177/088307389000500208. PMID 2345278. S2CID 43168668.
  5. ^ a b Weinberg, Warren A.; Emslie, Graham J. (October 1988). "Weinberg Screening Affective Scales (WSAS and WSAS-SF)". Journal of Child Neurology. 3 (4): 294–296. doi:10.1177/088307388800300412. PMID 3198897. S2CID 38194399.

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