Overview

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.

Psychometric properties​

Property Definition RCADS
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)

 
Populations

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).

Translation

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).

Administration

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

Subscales 

Scoring

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

Interpretation

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).

Terms of use

The RCADS and its derivative works (inclusive of translations) are copyrighted by Chorpita and Spence. They are available for use through Dr Chorpita’s UCLA resource page (www.childfirst.ucla.edu/resources.html) in accordance with the Terms of use (in the user guide).

Other versions

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/

Further information

Developer website: https://www.childfirst.ucla.edu/resources/

References

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, 7411927

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, 7e37339

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.

 

Please note that the information on this page was last updated in October 2019.