Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10)

The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) is designed to measure anxiety and depression through a 10-item questionnaire. Each question pertains to an emotional state and each has a five-level response scale.

This instrument uses a consumer self-report measure making it a desirable method of assessment because it depends on the clinicians genuine pursuit to collect information about the patient’s current condition. The instrument can be self-administered or interviewer-administrated and consumers’ privacy should be insured when using this instrument.


R.C. Kessler

To Access this Instrument

Interviewer-Administered Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10)

Reliability and Validity

The 2000 Collaborative Health and Well-Being Survey were used to test reliability of the K10. The ending kappa and weighted kappa scores ranged from 0.42 to 0.74, indicating that the K10 is a moderately reliable instrument. Although supplementary research on the clinical cut-off times and the scoring are needed to determine psychological distress, the K10 is a brief, simple, and reliable instrument to detect mental health conditions in the population.

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.

Dissertations that have used the Kessler psychological Distress Scale

Addonizio, Frank Patrick. (2011). Stress, Coping, Social Support, and Psychological Distress Among MSW Students. (University of South Carolina.)

Taylor, Desta Amber Alyse. (2012) Psychological Distress as Mediator Between Perceived Stigma and Relationship Satisfaction Among Sexual Minorities. (East Tennessee State University).


Andrew G, Slade T. Interpreting scores on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2001. 25(6): 494-497. Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety Disorders (CRUFAD).

T. A. Furukawa, R. C. Kessler, T. Slade and G. Andrews (2003). The performance of the K6 and K10 screening scales for psychological distress in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being. Psychological Medicine. View

Baillie, Andrews J. (5 September 2005). Predictive Gender and Education Bias in Kessler’s Psychological Distress Scale (K10). (Macquarie University.) View

Department of Health. Population Research and Outcome Studies, Brief Reports. The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (k10). Number: 2002-14. View