The depression impairment scale for parents (DISP): A new scale for the measurement of impairment in depressed parents

Katie Lewis, Kit Elam, Ruth Sellers, Kimberly Rhoades, Rhys Bevan Jones, Ajay Thapar, Frances Rice, Stephan Collishaw, Gordon Harold, Anita Thapar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Children of depressed parents are at increased risk of developing mood disorders but mechanisms of intrafamilial transmission are currently unclear. One rarely investigated area is the impact of depression on a parent's everyday functioning. Currently there are no validated assessments of depression-specific parental impairment. The creation of such a measure would complement depression symptom counts, providing a more comprehensive account of the parent's depression. We therefore aimed to develop a valid and reliable measure of impairment specifically associated with parental depression. In a longitudinal study of parents with recurrent unipolar depression and their offspring, we collected data from 337 parents. These participants completed the Depression Impairment Scale for Parents (DISP), a questionnaire assessing depression-associated impairment in multiple domains of functioning. Factor analysis revealed that this measure consisted of two factors - impairment in routine tasks/activities and impairment in family functioning - that together accounted for 51.04% of variance. The scale evidenced good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha=0.82). The DISP also displayed good construct and criterion validity as evidenced by significant associations with established measures of depression severity and global impairment. These results demonstrate that the DISP is a valid and reliable measure of depression-associated impairment in parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1184-1190
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 30 2013


  • Child
  • Intrafamilial
  • Parent
  • Reliability
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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