Derogatis Affect Balance Scale (DABS)

Developed as a multidimensional self-report mood inventory, the Derogatis Affects Balance Scale (DABS) assesses positive and negative affectivity, affective balance, and affective intensity. Primary use with the DABS is clinically ill populations.

In order to complete the measure, 40 single-word adjective items must be answered using a 5-point Likert style scale. Responses can range from “never” to “always.” Approximately 5 minutes is required for completion for the normal version of the DABS (3 min. for the short form).


Leonard R. Derogatis

Reliability and Validity

Reliability and Validity data can be found in the DABS test manual and the Derogatis Test Site. Internal consistency alphas, dependent on a sample of 355 psychiatric inpatients, were calculated at a low of 0.79 for anxiety and a high of 0.85 for depression (Derogatis & Rutigliano, 1996). Over a one week period, test-retest coefficients were 0.79 (hostility) to 0.84 (contentment) for 16 breast cancer patients. For construct validity, factor analysis provided support that the positive and negative dimensions were the two primary dimensions measured by the DABS. The global scores for the short form of the DABS correlated highly (0.94-0.97) with the corresponding measures in the original version.

Where to Purchase

Derogatis Tests

Administration, Analysis and Reporting

Statistics Solutions consists of a team of professional methodologists and statisticians that can assist the student or professional researcher in administering the survey instrument, collecting the data, conducting the analyses and explaining the results.

For additional information on these services, click here.


Derogatis, L.R., Abeloff, M.D. & Melisaratos, N. (1979). Psychological coping mechanisms and survival time in metastatic breast cancer. JAMA .242: 1504-1508.

Derogatis, L.R. & Meyer,J.K. (1979). A psychological profile of the sexual dysfunctions. Archives of Sexual Behavior.,  8, 201-223.

Derogatis, L. R., & Rutigliano, P. J. (1996). The Derogatis Affects Balance Scale DABS. In B. Spilker (Ed.), Quality of life and pharmacoeconomics in clinical trials (2nd ed.) (pp. 107-118). Philadelphia: Lippincott-Rave.

Garamoni, G.L., Reynolds, C.F., Thase, M. E., Frank, E. & Fasiczka, A.L. (1992). Shifts in affective balance during therapy of major depression. J Consulting & Clinical Psychology 60, 260-266.

Rabins, P. V., Fitting, M. D., Eastham, J. & Fetting, J. (1990). The emotional impact of caring for the chronically ill. Psychosomatics, 31, 331-336.

Watson, D. & Tellegen A. (1985). Toward a consensual structure of mood. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 219-235.

Dissertations and Journals

Benedict, Ralph H. B.; Dobraski, Melissa; and Goldstein, Z. Marion (1999). A Preliminary Study of the Association Between Changes in Mood and Cognition in a Mixed Geriatric Psychiatry Sample.

Grunewald, L. T., Kemeny, E. M. & Aziz, N. (2005). Subjective social status moderates cortisol responses to social threat. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 20 (4), 410-419.

North, R. B., Kidd, D. H., Wimberly, R. L. & Edwin, D. (1996). Prognotic Value of Psychological Testing in Patients Undergoing Spinal cord Stimulation: A Prospective Study. Neurosurger, 39 (2), 301-311.

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