The purpose of this research was to develop a measure of childhood depression and test its psychometric properties with depressed and non-depressed children. First, an overview of our current understanding of childhood depression and the measures used in assessment is reviewed. Following, the problems with our diagnostic classification are presented, providing justification for the development of a new measure for childhood depression. A bottom-up approach is used in this study to develop a theory driven measure for identifying depression in children which focuses on the process. Thus, varying from the primarily symptom based assessment tools that are currently used in psychology. Gestalt theory is explored to understand the depressive process and items were comprised which are less face valid and present scenarios that may describe how a depressed child functions in his or her environment. The newly created measure, Depression Process Scale- Children (DPS-C), was administered to depressed and nondepressed children. For comparative analysis and validation, additional measures were also administered which include the Children’s Depression Inventory-2 (CDI-2) and the Behavioral Assessment System for Children- Second Edition (BASC-2). An exploratory factor analysis was conducted, revealing three factors with thirteen items for the DPS-C. Next, the validity of the new measure was investigated by determining the scales convergence with the CDI-2 and parent report of the BASC-2. Correlational analysis revealed strong positive correlations between the DPS-C and specific subscales of the BASC-2 (Depression and Withdrawal). The DPS-C did not have strong correlations with the CDI 2 and other subscales of the BASC-2, revealing the convergent and discriminant validity of the measure. Logistic regression analysis revealed the DPS-C total score, Scale 1 and Scale 3 were significant predictors of depression. Additionally, the DPS-C remained a significant predictor of depression after accounting for the variance explained by the CDI 2. Findings suggest the DPS-C is likely tapping into a unique aspect of depression not accounted for by symptom-based measures. Overall, this study demonstrated that a theory driven measure of childhood depression is able to differentiate between depressed and non-depressed children as well as increase the understanding of depression in children beyond DSM symptomatology.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology


Clinical Psychology


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Todd D. Burley

Second Advisor

Vidhya Krishnamurthy

Third Advisor

David A. Vermeersch

Fourth Advisor

Ludmila Zaytsev

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Depression in children; Children -- Diseases -- Diagnosis; Psychological tests for children -- Evaluation; Behavior Assessment System for Children; Depression -- diagnosis -- Child; Depressive Disorder -- psychology; Gestalt Theory; Psychological Tests -- Child; Regression Analysis



Page Count

x, 95 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives