The Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) is a 47-item, youth self-report questionnaire with subscales including: separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and low mood (major depressive disorder). It also yields a Total Anxiety Scale (sum of the 5 anxiety subscales) and a Total Internalizing Scale (sum of all 6 subscales). Additionally, The Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale – Parent Version (RCADS-P) similarly assesses parent report of youth’s symptoms of anxiety and depression across the same six subscales.
The RCADS and the RCADS-P can be used for tracking symptoms as well as providing additional information for assessment.
|Internal consistency||Whether several items that propose to measure the same general construct produce similar score||
Good reliability on subscales and total scale (Chorpita, Moffitt, & Gray, 2005) on a clinical sample. Internal consistency for the RCADS subscales ranged from adequate to excellent in a non-clinical sample (Donnelly, Fitzgeralds, Shevlin, & Dooley, 2019). The RCADS shows robust internal consistency reliability in different assessment settings, countries, and languages (Piqueras, Martín-Vivar, Sandin, San Luis, & Pineda, 2017).
|Test-retest reliability||Degree to which the same respondents have the same score after a period when a trait should not have changed.||
One-week test-retest coefficients were good (Chorpita et al., 2000).
|Convergent validity||Degree to which two measures of constructs that theoretically should be related, are in fact related.||
Good convergent validity (Esbjørn et al., 2012; Bouvard, Denis, & Roulin, 2015; Donnelly, Fitzgeralds, Shevlin, & Dooley, 2017).
|Concurrent validity||If a measure correlates well with a measure that has previously been validated.||
The RCADS has good concurrent validity with the Children’s Depression Inventory and with the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (Chorpita et al., 2005)
The RCADS can be completed by young people aged from 8 to 18 years and the RCADS-P can also be completed by the parent or carer of young people aged across the same age groups. Clinical experience indicates that RCADS is too developmentally advanced for use with young people with learning disabilities, but has been found to be useful for some CYP with mild learning difficulties (Law & Wolpert, 2014).
The RCADS is available in English (US), Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Icelandic, Korean, Norwegian, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish and Urdu. Use of norms and interpretation of T-scores should be done cautiously with non-English versions. Translated versions are available here: https://www.childfirst.ucla.edu/resources/
Further translations are allowed to be conducted with the agreement of the authors (conditions available on the RCADS user guide).
The questionnaire takes between five and ten minutes to administer. Both parent and child questionnaires can be given to the appropriate respondent to complete themselves. Alternatively, in order to ensure that each item is understood by the respondent, or to gain additional information about each response, the questionnaires can be administered directly by the clinician who can ask follow-up questions.
Scale and Subscales
- Separation anxiety disorder (Child Self-Reported)
- Separation anxiety disorder (Parent Reported)
- Social phobia (Child Self-Reported)
- Social phobia (Parent Reported)
- Generalised anxiety (Child Self-Reported)
- Generalised anxiety (Parent Reported)
- Panic disorder (Child Self-Reported)
- Panic disorder (Parent Reported)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (Child Self-Reported)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (Parent Reported)
- Low mood (major depressive disorder; Child Self-Reported)
- Low mood (major depressive disorder; Parent Reported)
The RCADS and the RCADS-P can be scored using spreadsheets or syntax available from the developer (link: https://www.childfirst.ucla.edu/resources/). The young person’s equivalent US School Grade must be entered, which is grade one below the UK school year. A "t-score" is calculated on these spreadsheets/syntax from a raw score (total score of the scale or subscale). The measures can also be scored manually following the instructions on the Scoring Aids for the RCADS and RCADS-P
The ‘clinical thresholds’ for the overall score were established using the anxiety disorders interview schedule for DSM-IV, child and parent versions (ADIS-IV-C/P; Silverman & Albano, 1996) as a comparison (Chorpita et al., 2005). The thresholds for sub-scales are set using normative data.
A t-score of 65 means that the score is roughly in the top 7% of scores of un-referred young people of the same age (described as borderline clinical by the developer) and a score of 70 means that the score is roughly in the top 2% of scores of un-referred young people of the same age (described as the clinical threshold by the developer).
Working remotely with RCADS
Adaptations and derivatives are not authorised without written permission from Chorpita and Spence. Regarding any adaptations, the instrument may not be altered to remove the copyright or other text in the margins regarding the source and terms. Microsoft Word Versions or Interactive PDF Versions of RCADS do not exist. If you work remotely with your service user and have access to PDF versions of the questionnaire:
- The free Adobe Acrobat Reader does have commenting tools that allow you to add, circle or highlight text and then save the PDF with these 'comments'
- If you are a practitioner going through the questionnaire verbally online and can share screen, we feel it works well for the child or young person to be able to see you edit the questionnaire as you go through it
- The questionnaire can also be edited this way at the service user’s end, although do experiment with this yourself to check its suitability for those you work with - not everyone will find this equally user-friendly and practice or advice may help
Ebesutani et al. (2012) developed a 25-item version of the RCADS to reduce client burden and administration time. All anxiety items primarily reflected a single ‘broad anxiety’ dimension, which informed the subsequent development of a reduced 15-item Anxiety Total scale. Scoring the RCADS-25 and RCADS-25-P uses converted scores on the total scale and both sub-scales divided into scoring. More information in this paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26834091
There is also an adapted version of the RCDAS to accommodate characteristics of Young People with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Anxiety Scale for Children (ASC-ASD) has Parent and Child versions, which are available here https://research.ncl.ac.uk/neurodisability/leafletsandmeasures/anxietyscaleforchildren-asd/asc-asdchild/
Developer website: https://www.childfirst.ucla.edu/resources/
Bouvard, M., Denis, A., & Roulin, J. (2015). The French version of the revised child anxiety and depression scale (RCADS) in a nonclinical sample. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 74, 119–27
Chorpita, B. F., Moffitt, C., & Gray, J. (2005). Psychometric properties of the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale in a clinical sample. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 43, 309-322.
Chorpita, B. F., Yim, L. M., Moffitt, C. E., Umemoto L. A., & Francis, S. E. (2000). Assessment of symptoms of DSM-IV anxiety and depression in children: A Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38, 835-855.
Donnelly, A., Fitzgerald, A., Shevin, M., & Dooley, B. (2019). Investigating the psychometric properties of the revised child anxiety and depression scale (RCADS) in a non-clinical sample of Irish adolescents. Journal of Mental Health, 28(4), 345-356
Ebesitani, C., Korathu-Larson, P., Nakamura, B., Higa-McMillan, C., & Chorpita, B. (2017). The Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale 25-Parent Version: Scale Development and Validation in a School-Based and Clinical Sample. Assessment, 24(6), 712-728.
Ebesutani, C., Korathu-Larson, P., Nakamura, B., Higa-McMillan, C., and Chorpita, B. (2017). The Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale 25-Parent Version: Scale Development and Validation in a School-Based and Clinical Sample. Assessment, 24(6), 712-728
Ebesutani, C., Reise, S. P., Chorpita, B. F., Ale, C., Regan, J., Young, J., Higa-McMillan, C., & Weisz, J. R. (2012). The revised child anxiety and depression scale short version: Scale reduction via exploratory bifactor modeling of the broad anxiety factor. Psychological Assessment, 24, 833–45
Esbjørn, B. H., Somhovd, M. K., Turnstedt, C., Reinholdt-Dunne, M. L. (2012). Assessing the revised child anxiety and depression scale (RCADS) in a national sample of Danish youth aged 8–16 years. PLoS One, 7, e37339
Law, D., & Wolpert, M. (2014). Guide to using outcomes and feedback tools with children, young people and families. UK: Press CAMHS.
Mash, E. J., Hunsley J. (2007). Assessment of child and family disturbance: A development-systems approach. In: Mash EJ, Barkley RA, eds. Assessment of childhood disorders fourth edition. New York, NY: The Guilford Press, 3–52
Piqueras, J. A., Martín-Vivar, M., Sandin, B., San Luis, C., Pineda, D. (2017). The Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale: a systematic review and reliability generalization meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 218, 153-169
Rodgers, J., Wigham, S., McConachie, H., Freeston M., Honey, E., Parr, JR. Development of the Anxiety Scale for Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASC-ASD) Autism Research, 2016, 9(11), 1205-1215.
Rodgers, J., Wigham, S., McConachie, H., Freeston, M., Honey, E., Parr, J. R. (2016). Development of the Anxiety Scale for Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASC-ASD). Autism Research, 9(11), 1205-1215.
Silverman, W., & Albano, A. (1996). The Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for Children–IV (Child and parent versions). San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.