The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6+) is a 6-item self-report measure of psychological distress intended to be used as a quick tool to assess risk for serious mental illness in the general population. On the first critical item, participants indicate how often they have had six different feelings or experiences during the past 30 days using a 5-point Likert scale: 4 (All of the time), 3 (Most of the time), 2 (Some of the time), 1 (A little of the time), and 0 (None of the time). The feelings and experiences for this first item are the following: “nervous,” “hopeless,”, “restless or fidgety,” “so depressed that nothing could cheer you up,” “that everything was an effort,” and “worthless.” The next item assesses the extent to which the feelings are typical for the person. The remaining items assess to what extent these experiences led to functional impairment. Specifically, they assess how many days that people were totally unable to work due to the feelings, how many days their productivity was at least halved by the feelings, how many times they saw a health professional about the feelings, and how often physical health problems seemed to be the primary causes of the feelings. The total score for the scale is computed by summing the points for the six experiences within the first item of the scale.
The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6+) measures psychological distress in order to gauge risk for serious mental illness in the general population (Kessler et al., 2002). Given that mental health disorders such as major depression are believed to have bidirectional relationships with health behaviors (e.g., diet, sleep, and exercise; Lopresti, Hood, & Drummond, 2013), it is important to investigate whether psychological distress may be a mechanism that impairs adaptive behavior change.
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Text Citation: Kessler, R. C., Andrews, G., Colpe, L. J., Hiripi, E., Mroczek, D. K., Normand, S. L., ... & Zaslavsky, A. M. (2002). Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychological Medicine, 32(6), 959-976.
Text Citation: Lopresti, A. L., Hood, S. D., & Drummond, P. D. (2013). A review of lifestyle factors that contribute to important pathways associated with major depression: Diet, sleep and exercise. Journal of Affective Disorders, 148(1): 12-27.
This measure has not been measured yet.
This measure has not been influenced yet.
This measure has not been validated yet.
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The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort will lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. The SOBC program aims to implement a mechanisms-focused, experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and to develop the tools required to implement such an approach. The experimental medicine approach involves: identifying an intervention target, developing measures to permit verification of the target, engaging the target through experimentation or intervention, and testing the degree to which target engagement produces the desired behavior change.
Within the SOBC Measures Repository, researchers have access to measures of mechanistic targets that have been (or are in the processing of being) validated by SOBC Research Network Members and other experts in the field. The SOBC Validation Process includes three important stages of evaluation for each proposed measure: Identification, Measurement, and Influence.
The first stage of validation requires a measure to be Identified within the field; there must be theoretical support for the specific measure of the proposed mechanistic target or potential mechanism of behavior change. This evidence may include references for the proposed measure, or theoretical support for the construct that the proposed measure is intended to assess. The second stage of validation requires demonstration that the level and change in level of the chosen mechanistic target can be Measured with the proposed measure (assay). For example, if the proposed measure is a questionnaire, the score on the measure should indicate the activity of the target process, and it must have strong psychometric properties. The third stage of validation requires demonstration that the measure can be Influenced; there must be evidence that the measured target is malleable and responsive to manipulation. Evidence relating to each stage includes at least one peer-reviewed publication or original data presentation (if no peer-reviewed research is available to support the claim) and is evaluated by SOBC Research Network Members and experts in the field.
Once a measure has gone through these three stages, it will then either be Validated or Not validated according to SOBC Research Network standards. If a measure is Validated, then change in the measured target was reliably associated with Behavior Change. If a measure is Not validated, then change in the measured target was not reliably associated with Behavior Change. Why would we share measures that are not validated? The SOBC Research Network values open, rigorous, and transparent research. Our goal is to make meaningful progress and develop replicable and effective interventions in behavior change science. Therefore, the SOBC sees value in providing other researchers in the field with information regarding measures that work and measures that fall short for specific targets. Further, a measure that is not validated for one target in one population may be validated in another target or population.
Want to learn more? For any questions regarding the SOBC Validation Process or Measures Repository, please email email@example.com.
Has the mechanism been identified as a potential target for behavior change? This section summarizes theoretical support for the mechanism.
Have the psychometric properties of this measure been assessed? This section includes information such as content validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability.
Has a study manipulation led to change in the mechanism? This section addresses evidence that this measure is modifiable by experimental manipulation or clinical intervention.
Has a change in this mechanism been associated with behavior change? This section addresses empirical evidence that causing change in the measure reliably produces subsequent behavior change.